National Register of Historic Places, 12/22/08
In 1952, New York developer Ben Novack bought the Harvey Firestone estate with the goal of erecting the greatest resort in Miami Beach. For the task of designing this new hotel, he chose Morris Lapidus. Novack had visited France recently and had directed Lapidus to design the interior in a French Provincial style. Lapidus, in his design, however, created a blend of French Renaissance and International Style for the building's final product.
The hotel and resort was opened for business in 1954 and was, at the time, the premier location for luxury on Miami Beach. Just one month following the resort's grand re-opening in November of 2008, the Fontainebleau was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Fontainebleau Resort Miami Beach is comprised of two distinct pieces, each designed by a distinct architect. The first part, known as the Chateau, was designed by Morris Lapidus and construction was completed in 1954. The Chateau is of the primary historical and architectural significance and was designed in a crescent shape atop a pedestal, in the International Style.
The Fontainebleau Miami Beach is situated on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, in the center of an area known locally as "Millionaires Row". The eastern exposure of the hotel faces the Atlantic Ocean. The western exposure, where the main entrance lay, faces an inlet of Surprise Lake, which is a tributary of Biscayne Bay.
The Chateau is 150 feet in height and has a concrete frame with block construction. Above the pedastal base, the crescent shaped building rises eleven stories high. The facade features horizontal bands of windows stretching across the entire facade.
Following its construction, and well into the 21st century, the Fontainebleau Hotel is a prominent figure in Miami Beach's culture of tourism, dining, and nightlife...
The Fontainebleau Miami Beach opened in 1954, amid a golden era in Miami Beach. Hotelier Ben Novack dreamed of building one of the world's greatest resorts and through Morris Lapidus' vision, accomplished that feat with the largest hotel in Miami Beach, featuring 554 guest rooms in an eleven-story building with a curved facade that originally outraged architectural critics but has since become an architectural icon.
The Fontainebleau Resort is significant for a number of reasons, including being an extremely recognizable work of the well-known International Style architect, Morris Lapidus. Regarded as one of Lapidus' more important works, the Fontainebleau is also regarded as a work that helped define the emerging International Style of architecture, especially in South Florida.
National Register of Historic Places Listing Record, 12/22/08