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Ocean Drive's Eye-Catching Architecture

| Arts & Culture
Ocean Drive's Eye-Catching Architecture

Amidst all the boutique hotels, eateries, and bikini-clad pedestrians along Ocean Drive, you might not notice the historical landmarks and stunning architecture that line the fabled street. From candy-colored Art Deco buildings to a mansion reminiscent of a palatial Spanish residence, Ocean Drive’s eye-catching architecture adds a certain sparkle to South Beach. Here is a list of the most significant structures you can’t help but notice.

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A Fish Called Avalon

The Avalon Hotel was one of the first Art Deco properties to be revamped in the 80s after the area fell into decline. Completed in 1941 by architect Albert Anis, the late Art Deco building is enhanced by its neon green lights and award-winning eatery, A Fish Called Avalon. The sleek Art Deco bar and restaurant has been a social center for models, photographers, and production companies working on Ocean Drive since the 80s. 700 Ocean Dr.

breakwater-south-beach

The Breakwater

Representative of the Streamline Moderne architectural style, The Breakwater is easily distinguished by its protruding blue sign, long horizontal lines, and blue and yellow accents. Designed in 1936 by Yugoslavian architect Anton Skiskewicz, The Breakwater is a boutique hotel and home to the beloved Cuban restaurant Havana 1957. 940 Ocean Dr.

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Beach Patrol Headquarters

The headquarters in Lummus Park was designed by Robert Taylor as an Art Deco nautical-themed structure. The 1934 building features rows of porthole windows and a circular tower flanked by wings on either side. Today, the headquarters features public restrooms and showers, and is the first stop on the official Art Deco tour of South Beach which departs from the adjacent Welcome Center. 1001 Ocean Dr.

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Versace Mansion

The Versace Mansion’s storied architectural history is as long as it is opulent. Inspired by the Alcazar De Colon in Santo Domingo, architect Alden Freeman and contractor Hubbell & Hubbell Company built the mansion in 1930 to be used as Freeman’s permanent residence. One of the original bricks from the Santo Domingo house sits to the right hand side of the main entrance. After Freeman’s death, the mansion passed through several hands before fashion designer Gianni Versace acquired the property in the early 90s and added a garden, swimming pool, copper dome, and south wing. Although the unique Spanish architecture of the property catches the eye, details like Italian marble, key lime coral flooring, and a pebble-mosaic dining room give it its character. Today the Versace Mansion is formally known as The Villa Casa Casuarina and operates as a luxurious hotel with a fine dining Mediterranean eatery. 1116 Ocean Dr.

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The Carlyle

Designed by German architect Richard Kiehnel, The Carlyle is a prime example of the Art Deco rule of thirds. The 1939 structure is divided into thirds by horizontal and vertical lines, resulting in an achieved balance that appeals to the human eye. Hollywood seems to agree. Films like Scarface, The Birdcage, Pronto, Bad Boys II, and Random Hearts have all featured The Carlyle in scenes. Today, the Art Deco building operates as rental space with The Carlyle Café on the ground level serving up a large menu of American eats, cocktails, and frozen drinks. 1250 Ocean Dr.

cavalier-hotel-south-beach

Cavalier Hotel

Departing ever so slightly from Art Deco tradition, architect Roy France used decorative stucco friezes outside the Cavalier Hotel to add symmetry, draw the eye upward, and pay homage to ancient civilizations using red, gold, and turquoise tones. The 1936 building across the street from Lummus Park also houses a sidewalk café serving Latin-infused seafood dishes. 1320 Ocean Dr.

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The McAlpin

The McAlpin’s coral pink and aquamarine color palette has made it one of the most photographed buildings along Ocean Drive. Now part of Hilton Grand Vacations, The McAlpin was designed by architect L. Murray Dixon. Dixon was one of the principal architects of SoBe’s Art Deco District, with other works including The Tides, The Victor Hotel, The Tiffany, and The Betsy Hotel. 1424 Ocean Dr.

Celino Hotel

After extensive renovations of master architect Henry Hohauser’s Park Central Hotel (1937), the Imperial Hotel (1939), and Heathcote Apartments along Ocean Drive, the new Celino Hotel was born. Once a popular hangout for stars Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Carol Lombard, and Rita Hayworth, Park Central Hotel was named the 100th member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America in 1993. Today, Celino Hotel pays tribute to Miami’s glamorous 1940s past and Cuban modernism while creating their signature ‘Floridita’ style.

Stay in the heart of the Art Deco District and be among the first to visit the brand new Celino Hotel on Ocean Drive, a seamless merger of historic Art Deco retrofit with a modern beachfront expansion.

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