Bernardo Fort-Brescia, FAIA, is a founding Principal at Arquitectonica. He studied architecture and urban planning at Princeton University and received a Master of Architecture from Harvard University, where he later taught. He first came to Miami in 1975 to teach at the University of Miami. In 1977 he founded Arquitectonica with a group of young architects and set up a studio in Coconut Grove. Today Arquitectonica has designed buildings in dozens of countries from eleven offices around the world.
Best New Architecture
Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center / University of Miami — Leon Krier
“It’s worth looking at the architecture school at the University of Miami, where dean Elizabeth Platter-Zyberk commissioned Leon Krier to design the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center. The new building is surrounded by a series of modest Bauhaus influenced Modernist buildings by Florida’s pioneer woman architect, Marion Manley.”
Miami International Airport — Carlos Zapata
“If you happen to arrive or depart from the north terminal at Miami International Airport, look at Carlos Zapata's concourse J. It is a piece of sculpture with curving metal panels that shine differently in the Florida sun. In Concourse D (American Airlines), look down as you walk. Local artist Michele Oka Doner turned sections of shells and corals found along Miami Beach into bronze pieces and inset them into the terrazzo floors. Each is different and tells us about the beauty and complexity of nature.”
Best Historic Architecture
The National Tropical Botanical Garden
“Located inside the garden, Dr. David Fairchild's house is one of the most beautiful pieces of residential architecture from early 20th-century Miami. Called the Kampong [a Malay or Javanese term for cluster of houses], the garden not only has a beautiful setting on Biscayne Bay, it also still houses the collection of exotic tropical plants gathered by Dr. Fairchild on his trips around the world.”
Best Museums and Galleries
The Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz Collection
“Miami has many art collectors who have their own museums that are open to the public. Rosa and Carlos de la Cruz have been collecting contemporary art for more than three decades and recently opened a beautiful gallery [designed by John Marquette] on 41st Street.”
The Wolfsonian - Florida International University
“I think any architect would enjoy the Wolfsonian in Miami Beach. It is a museum of early Modern design. The founder, Micky Wolfson, calls the collection ‘decorative and propaganda arts,’ and it is exactly that. I can assure any visitor that they will be amazed by the graphics of early modern posters and the creativity of industrial design pieces on display. Micky travelled the world to collect these pieces including Art Deco, Bauhaus, Futurist, WPA, and rarely seen pieces form European and Asian schools of design in the first half of the 20th Century. They are housed in an ornate 1920s multistory warehouse on Washington Avenue.”
During the American Institute of Architects’ annual convention, the museum is presenting the exhibitions Unrealized Architecture and The Grand Hotels of Schultze & Weaver.
On June 10th at 7:30 p.m. the museum hosts a talk about the recently published Miami Architecture: An AIA Guide Featuring Downtown, the Beaches and Coconut Grove with authors Allan Shulman, Randall C. Robinson, Jr., and Jeff Donnelly.
“Casa Tua is a fantastic Italian restaurant in a converted 1920s house in Miami Beach—hidden behind a dense green hedge. Reservations are a must and the food is pricey but worth it.”
“Being Peruvian, I love ceviche, but when it comes to Peruvian gastronomy (the best in Latin America) go to Francesco in Coral Gables. Try the Pisco Sour.”
“A great ceviche bar in Coconut Grove. I mean, they have every kind of ceviche by the spoonful.”
“On the Miami side, hidden in an uneventful row of one-story buildings and behind the glitzy high-rises of Brickell Avenue, is my favorite fish restaurant. The River has the best fish in town fresh off the boats that dock a block away on the Miami River.