7 must-see architectural landmarks in Florida USA, Best FL buildings, US architecture

7 Must-See Architectural Landmarks In Florida

June 9, 2022

Coral Gables Entrance:
Coral Gables - 7 must-see architectural landmarks in Florida

Florida is a beacon for holidaymakers year-round. But it has more to offer than just beaches and fine weather. There are also many magnificent examples of architecture with a rich history.

As any fan of architecture knows, our modern-day architectural marvels take their inspiration from the past. And we believe in honoring this fine heritage. So we put together this list of 7 must-see architectural landmarks in Florida, to inspire you on your next trip to the Sunshine State.

Biltmore Hotel

Holidaymakers flock to the Florida Keys for fishing, boating, diving, and underwater exploration of its coral reefs, shipwrecks, and rich marine life. Florida is certainly best enjoyed from the water.

A yacht rental in Florida is undoubtedly one of the best ways to get around while on vacation here. But when you moor your yacht in Miami, one of the most attractive options for accommodation and exploration is the Biltmore Hotel.

The Biltmore Hotel is a national historic landmark, situated in the Coral Gables area near downtown Miami. It is reminiscent of classic Italian, Moorish, and Spanish architectural influences. And has been a favorite of world leaders and celebrities since opening its doors in 1926.

Ca’ d’Zan, Sarasota

American circus king John Ringling built this masterpiece of the Roaring Twenties to be the winter home he would share with his wife Mable. In 1923, while the Ringlings were touring Italy, they fell in love with Venetian architecture.

Their Mediterranean Revival residence was mostly inspired by the Venetian Gothic-style palazzos along the canals of Venice. The roof was covered with antique Spanish tiles, which John salvaged when hundreds of Barcelona’s buildings were targeted for demolition.

The estate featured a waterfront dock, Venetian glass windows, and even a six-story tower. Construction began in 1924 and was completed in late 1925. Today Ca’ d’Zan houses The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

The Dali Museum

There’s no shortage of examples of more modern architecture in Florida either. One of these is the Dali Museum. This spectacular structure in St Petersburg, Florida is a fascinating example of form meeting function. You’ll find this modern marvel in the downtown waterfront area.

Opened in 1982, and upgraded in 2011, it is one of the top attractions in the town. An architectural representation of Dali’s creative spirit, its concrete walls, and stunning kaleidoscope windows were designed to withstand a category 5 hurricane.

Baughman Center

This beautiful building was the brainchild of Dr. Baughman, the first president of the New College of Florida. With its high windows and delicate natural materials, it was designed to encapsulate the beauty of its outdoor surroundings.

Baughman Center has received its fair share of accolades. It received the Judges’ Award from Keep Alachua County Beautiful. And it took third place on the Florida Architecture: 100 Years, 100 Places list published by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The architect of this masterpiece, John Zona, was also the architect behind Mandi’s Chapel, near Live Oak.

Al Capone’s Miami Home

Every city has a past, some more colorful than others. For a trip back into the roaring ’20s, Al Capone’s Florida home is a must-see on your trip.

The historic home where notorious gangster Al Capone lived and died started its life as a 1922 Mediterranean Revivalist mansion. Al Capone arrived in Miami Beach in 1927 and bought the Palm Island property a year later.

Capone put his stamp on the property with a series of renovations. Notable features include a miniature lighthouse fountain and bridge, a floor-to-ceiling mosaic bathroom, a mini private beach, and a 7-foot cement perimeter wall.

The estate was seriously overhauled by Miami-based, Italian-run MB America in 2016, with architect Monica Melotti leading the renovations.

Dodd Hall

Constructed in stages between 1925 – 1929, Dodd Hall is a magnificent example of Collegiate Gothic architecture. It was extensively renovated in 1991 but retained its interior and exterior architectural integrity. This tall, high structure in the gothic style tells its story on every wall.

In the lobby, you’ll see a beautiful oil painting on the rear east wall. Painted by renowned artist Artemis Housewright, the painting showcases historic structures as well as local flora and fauna.

The Heritage Museum, located in the original west wing, features a memorial stained glass window depicting the university’s best-known buildings. This enormous masterpiece consists of more than 10,000 pieces of glass.

Ernest Hemingway’s Key West Home

Florida has seen its fair share of creative personalities, one of the most famous being Ernest Hemingway. His house is situated at 907 Whitehead Street, across from the Key West Lighthouse.

Constructed in 1851 in the French Colonial style by marine architect and salvager Asa Tift, it was bought by Hemingway in 1931. He and his wife Pauline Pfeiffer lovingly restored the property, making several additions.

But while Hemingway only lived and worked here for ten years, he produced an astonishing 70 percent of his lifetime works here. Hemingway’s home is now a museum and will be a highlight of your trip to Florida.

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