"As rapidly as Florida is building its future ,it is losing its past. The two are not always cause and effect, but our lust for progress has driven us to trample much of our history-be illustrious, or ignominious, or simply, and gloriously, commonplace."
Florida's Vanishing Architecture Beth Dunlop
Miami Vernacular Fieldwork School
The Miami Vernacular Project was funded by the Vernacular Architecture Forum, an organization established in 1987 to promote the study, documentation, and preservation of vernacular architecture, a term that recognizes the incredible diversity and richness of common folk architecture, a building practice ranging from domestic, commercial and industrial buildings to whole landscapes. As a fieldwork project the MVP aims to record a diverse range of vernacular typologies found throughout South Florida which currently are threatened by real estate speculative market and the incremental effects of climate change. Bungalows, mission style, post-war style track housing and other vernacular structures are currently at risk. The project hopes to foster among architecture students, as future practitioners, an appreciation about South Florida's vernacular architecture through an engagement with different communities in Miami. Additionally it will promote and encourage efforts to preserve Miami's historic architecture heritage at a crucial juncture in our city's and nation's history.The project intends to assemble a record of extant historic neighborhoods that can be used by architects, historians, preservationists, and non-specialists alike.
Throughout South Florida, America's fabled but true last wilderness the conception of common folk architecture was conditioned by limited material and logistical conditions,and embodied by numerous building traditions brought in by the successive waves of settlers. In their attempts to master a challenging landscape these pioneering inhabitants developed innovative architectural approaches that celebrated and re-framed the man-made with the natural. This interplay generated a peculiar architectural syntax and fostered a vernacular network which reinterpreted traditional vernacular typologies including Florida's cracker, Mediterranean style, and modern. Miami's vernacular tradition emerged at the end of the 19th century and incorporated architectural elements derived from popular architectural styles at the time . South Florida's vernacular embodies American entrepreneurial character, adaptability and innovative vision. Miami's vernacular is the architecture of diverse places. It is a filter through which tradition, modernity have been challenged and reinvented.
Special thanks to the Dade Heritage Trust executive director Christine Rupp and reverend Nathaniel Robinson from Great St. Paul A.M.E. church in Coconut Grove for their support.
I would like to acknowledge the work of my architecture students that so enthusiastically embraced this task,
Jose R. Vazquez
Associate professor senior
Miami Dade College School of Architecture and Interior design
1- Shulman, Allan T. "The Tropical Home".Miami Modern Metropolis: Paradise and Paradox in Midcentury Architecture and Planning. Balcony, 2010.