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June 26, 2012 Mid-Century Modern

Modern Snapshot: The University of Miami

University of Miami

In Washington, Chloethial Woodard Smith was a trailblazing female modernist architect that left a major imprint on the area: the urban renewal plan in Southwest, the National Building Museum, townhomes in Reston, office buildings downtown and custom homes in the suburbs. In Miami, Marion Manley, the first female architect in Florida, left an important imprint as well, especially with the master plans and building designs for the University of Miami in Coral Gables, the first post-war modernist collegiate campus. Designed with Robert Law Weed, the school was transformed from a 1920s Spanish Revival campus that was destroyed by a hurricane in 1926 into a campus that reflected the optimism of the mid-century era.

Here’s a nice description by Tom Austin in Ocean Drive magazine of the simple flats pictured at the top and first three pictures below: “After the war, the GI Bill brought students bearing government-subsidized tuition checks, and 27 low-rise Le Corbusier-style ‘flats’ were erected in 1947. Built without air-conditioning, they have cantilevered ‘eyebrows’—meant to modulate the Miami light—over large windows for ventilation; originally, the lower floors were entirely open breezeways. To reclaim its Bauhaus heritage, the UM School of Architecture painted the buildings white with trim (door frames and such) done in such Bauhaus primary colors as yellow, red, and blue. The flats are pure charm, the best part of the UM campus.”

Here a few pictures from my recent and (brief) visit to the campus.

University of Miami School of Architecture

University of Miami School of Architecture

University of Miami

Albert Pickwick Library

The 1957 Albert Pickwick Music Library by Robert Little (above and below)

Albert Pickwick Library

University of Miami

Entrance to classroom building

Episcopal Church Center at the University of Miami.

Episcopal Church Center

University of Miami - Christian Science Organization

Christian Science Organization building

University of Miami brutalist building

A later brutalist building on the University of Miami campus.