Fountainbleau Hotel, Miami Beach
Post-World War II Miami matched, if not surpassed, the exuberance of the rest
America. Following the war, many soldiers who had been stationed in Miami moved
back with their families and the permanent population grew rapidly. Air travel
increased and new opportunities for tourism and vacationing once again drew
large crowds to the region.
As in the past, Miami architects created new styles to attract both American
and, increasingly, international travelers. Large "mid-century modern" hotels
offered guests restaurants, shopping arcades, and every imaginable
convenience. North Miami Beach became the premier location of what would come to be
known as the MiMo, or Miami Modern, district. Architect Morris Lapidus was the
inspiration for much of MiMo, including the exuberant style of exterior design
and the lavish excess of his interiors.
The Fountainebleau Hotel (1954) and the neighboring Eden Roc (1956) reflected
Lapidus’s design philosophy that "too much is never enough." Other designers,
including Igor B. Polevizky and Kenneth Triester, made North Beach into a
celebrated center for MiMo architecture.
Cadillac Hotel, Miami Beach
The role of the automobile in transforming and democratizing travel in American
became an element in shaping modernist architecture in South Florida, especially
in Miami Beach.
The Cadillac Hotel is probably one of the most extreme examples,
for it featured the Eldorado Supper Club, the Fleetwood Dining Room, and the
Golden "V" Cocktail Lounge. Built in 1940, this 14-story hotel at 39th and Collins
Avenue directly wedded auto travel to hotel design, literally cementing the
connection between the two in 1940s America.