Miami is a city whose location, diversity and vibrant growth have made it an ideal destination for international travel, business, culture, and leisure. Incorporated in 1896 - though Native Americans inhabited the region for millennia - the city and its greater region are a remarkable landscape described by native Amerindians as a slowly flowing “river of grass,” with a thin strip of buildable land stretching along its coastline. The region became an escape for post-World War II middle America, shaped largely by the desire for leisure and entertainment. Over the past decades, Miami has become a laboratory to explore new urban patterns, building types, evolving aesthetics, and emerging environmental consciousness.
The symposium, hosted by the University of Miami School of Architecture on its Coral Gables campus, will focus on two architectural fronts. The first will be the Postwar period, when the Miami area witnessed a significant surge in population growth and construction of new buildings (from hotels to Pacesetter houses), with several regionalist responses to the International Style flourishing in tandem. The 1980s marked another critical moment, with the rise of Postmodernism—characterized in South Florida with a combination of Modern vernacular, simplified Mediterranean, and Futurist-inspired structures ranging from single-family houses to condominiums which were in close dialogue with international tendencies of the time. In that sense, South Florida is the perfect location to explore streams of Postwar modernity as well as the much less investigated Postmodern landmarks, many of which are under threat of demolition (or have already been demolished) as they are often not old enough to be designated historic by the local historic preservation boards—one critical example being the Dade County Cultural Center by Philip Johnson & John Burgee (1980-84).
The symposium seeks to promote a broader understanding of the accomplishments of postwar to Postmodern architecture and culture in regionally specific contexts such as South Florida, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Themes to be explored include: Tropical Brutalism, Postwar campus planning in the (sub)tropics, Postwar tourism, urban renewal and Interstate infrastructure, the “Pink Revolution” or Modern architecture and popular culture in south Florida, polychrome Modern & the integration of the arts, etc. The Symposium seeks to discuss highly contested legislative initiatives in Florida such as the law HB423 that skirts historic designations in the name of climate change. Participants will have the opportunity to discuss the impact of climate change on the future of coastal communities in general and analyze how the forces of real estate development, often with the support of local and state governments, might be taking advantage of the new climatic guidelines to limit the public’s ability to preserve their local heritage. Open to architects, landscape architects, planners, preservation professionals, academic members, students, neighborhood groups, urban activists, and anyone who considers themselves a Modern enthusiast, the symposium aims to offer a platform for discussion and debate on how to foster a culture of “identity instead of demolition,” inclusion, social impact and the ways in which historic preservation aligns with sustainability and climate goals.
- Promote a broader understanding of the accomplishments of Postwar to Postmodern architecture and culture in designing and building Modern American cities, including Caribbean and Latin American cities.
- Consider the impacts of climate change and urban growth on existing landscapes and cities and the future of coastal communities across the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America.
- Explore the roles of photography, design and art, in the creation and representation of Modern architecture.
- Celebrate the preservation of Miami and Florida’s vast collection of Modern sites, especially in light of current development pressures.
Researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts involved in the process of preservation, conservation, renovation or transformation of buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the Modern Movement are invited to submit abstracts that align with the stated thematic goals. Topics outside of the suggested areas will also be considered. We welcome submissions that take a holistic approach to Modern resources (not just buildings) and consider the social context, technical merits, aesthetics, and settings when evaluating them. Abstracts should include how the subject contributes to the broader discussion of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, either generally or in relation to a specific field of study.
Session Topics to Consider
- The Pink Revolution: Post-Modern Architecture and Popular Culture
- Tropical Brutalism
- Postwar Campus Planning in the (Sub)tropics
- Postwar Architecture of Tourism
- Disruption of Communities through Postwar Infrastructure
- Postwar Development and the Intersection with Ethnicity
- Re-Using Modern and Postmodern Structures
- Preservation under Threat: Political Pressures
- Polychrome Modern and the Integration of the Arts
- Predigital: Work and Representation Methods
- From Pre-Digital to Digital: The Future of Archival Collections
- A.I. Potential and the Future of Preservation
Abstracts are due by Thursday January 11, 2024 at 11:59 pm and should include the following required information:
- Title (65 characters max)
- Abstract (400 words max)
- Learning objectives (100 words max)
- Author’s name, title, affiliation, pronouns, email, phone, and address
- Author’s biography (200 words max)
- Headshot (jpg or png)
- Request and reasoning for financial support, if applicable (200 words max)
All submissions must be in English and should take no more than 20-30 minutes to present. Please indicate the number of panelists to participate in your presentation. We recommend one (1) person for 20 minutes and two (2) for 30 minutes. More than two (2) speakers per 30 minutes will not be permitted and speakers will not be allowed to go over time.
Participants will be notified in late-February, and a first draft will be expected in March.
- All speakers are expected to appear in person to present their talks.
- Speakers are expected to financially support their own participation in and travel to the symposium. Speakers will receive a reduced registration rate of $175 for the Symposium (standard registration is $345). Students can register at the reduced rate of $50. If you require support in order to participate in the event, please include that request and reasoning in your submission.
- Speakers are required to provide a recording of their presentation PRIOR to the Symposium. This ensures a higher quality presentation during the Symposium and can be used in the event of the speaker’s absence. The recordings will be provided for free to Symposium attendees after the event and made available for viewing to Docomomo US members and the public for a small fee.