Americana Hotel


Designed by Russian immigrant architect Morris Lapidus (1902–2001) and completed in 1956, the Americana Hotel is a dynamic example of the Miami Modern architecture style, or “MIMO,” which rose to prominence in southeast Florida in the 1950s and 1960s. Miami Modern was the local variant of the midcentury modernism, or the international style, which incorporated prefabricated materials, such as cast concrete, to produce explorative designs and project a strong sense of modern technology and innovation. Space-age forms incorporating such elements as parabolic curves were combined with the new possibilities of cast concrete exemplified by Frank Lloyd Wright’s works. Steel-reinforced concrete enabled architects to manipulate the shape of buildings in imaginative ways, in addition to facilitating the adornment of buildings with elaborate features, including undulating concrete walls and cantilevered roofs. MIMO’s reign in Florida came just as air conditioning was becoming more feasible for large commercial spaces. Nevertheless, many of the buildings were designed to capture the region’s sea breezes through concave exposures facing out to the sea and porous catwalks that adjoined rooms, allowing for greater air flow. This image showcases the modernist entrance of the Americana and its curvy flamboyance, with the repeated geometric pattern of the balconies exalting the aesthetic of mathematical precision and the large scale of the hotel.

Last updated: October 17, 2011