A non-profit organization founded by Barbara Capitman and a group of her friends in 1976, the Miami Design Preservation League (MDPL) focuses on preserving and promoting the Miami Beach Architectural Historic District. It is the world’s oldest Art Deco Society.
The society was formed as a project to celebrate the
nation’s bicentennial. Barbara Baer Capitman and her son, John Capitman, and
designers Leonard Horowitz and Lillian Barber identified historic thirties-era
buildings in South Miami Beach. There are three main architectural types found
in the Art Deco district and focused on the MDPL: Art Deco, Mediterranean
Revival, and Miami Modern (MiMo).
MiMo became popular after World War II, during the 1950s.
Buildings designed in this style often include features such as asymmetry,
futuristic space age influenced shapes and forms, anodized aluminum in colors
such as gold and copper, and mosaic murals. The MiMo style came about when
architecture schools heavily focused at the International Style.
The International Style originated in the 1920s and 1930s.
Characteristics of the style include open interior spaces, rectilinear forms,
and the use of cantilever construction. Cantilevered construction makes it
possible to build overhanging structure with no external support, giving
buildings built using them a sort of impossible weightless quality.
The term “International Style” originated during the 1932
exhibition “Modern Architecture: International Exhibition.” The exhibition was
held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, making it the first
architectural exhibition held at the museum. The exhibition’s catalogue was
followed up with a book called The
Many Modernists rejected the architectural term. Sir
Nikolaus Pevsner, an architectural historian, stated: “To me what had been
achieved in 1914 was the style of the century. It never occurred to me to look
beyond. Here was the one and only style, which fitted all those aspects which
mattered, aspects of economics and sociology, of materials and function. It
seems folly to think anyone would wish to abandon it.”