Review and principle photography by Jerome M. O’Connor
For Art Deco enthusiasts the jumble of tropically-hued 1930s Miami Beach Depression-era hotels flaunt a melodic zigzag of understated design and, sometimes, raucous color. Scores of jazz age buildings enclose a resurgent South Beach extending from Lincoln Road into a still Bohemian Espanola Way. But, until recently, South Beach’s eclectic energy quickly muted into bleak gaps of empty space and concrete shells, relieved by an occasional desolate city garage. Before deciding on an uncharacteristically sober design for his New World Center, Frank Gehry, the premier architect of the digital age, got his received wisdom from those same boarding houses, corner stores, and still vibrant small hotels. The result is a triumph for Miami Beach and for 21st Century architecture everywhere.