modernistic Florida home at Miami Beach
Modernist design represented a new architectural model for the modern age.
Shaped in large part by ideas from the Bauhaus in Germany, the modernist
movement of the 1930s celebrated the possibilities that machine production held
out for meeting society’s changing needs.
Modern machine production made goods cheaper and available to a
mass market, especially important developments given the economic crisis of the
1930s. Leading European modernist designers such as Walter Gropius and Le
Corbusier highlighted symmetry and clean lines in design to reflect the new
materials like steel, glass, and concrete that were symbols of the new age.
In Miami, architects such as Henry Wright, Roy France, and Henry
Hohouser employed the symmetrical, streamlined styles of modernist design and
adapted them to a tropical landscape. They introduced whimsical design motifs
such as tropical murals, nautically-inspired porthole windows, and etched glass
flamingoes to create what later became known as the Art Deco district of South
Beach. The novelty of Art Deco design, and the ability to use modern
construction techniques and building materials to keep costs down, ultimately
gave Miami Beach the lasting appeal to a much wider demographic of traveler, and
made it into the cosmopolitan oasis that it is today.