Bacardi Building Receives Historic Designation

February 12th, 2019

 

On January 24, 2019, the City of Miami Commission approved a resolution supporting the nomination of the Bacardi Building Complex for historic preservation. In this edition of Learning from Miami, we celebrate the architectural history of the iconic Bacardi building.

Miami’s Bacardi complex tower, located on Biscayne Boulevard and 21st Street was designed by Cuban architect Enrique Gutierrez and built in 1963 to serve as the American base of Bacardi Limited. The building’s exterior mural was created by famed Brazilian ceramist Francisco Brennand, who utilized 28,000 blue and white “azulejo” handmade tiles. In addition to this mural embellishing the exterior of the tower, there is another architectural treasure located on the property.

Situated behind the Bacardi building is a structure known as the Jewel Box, designed by Ignacio Carrera-Justiz of Coral Gables. The exterior is covered in thick hammered stained-glass tapestries which were inspired by an original painting by German artist Johannes M. Dietz. This edifice is raised 47 feet off the ground by a pedestal. The two-story space cantilevers out 24 feet from its central core on all sides as each floor is hung from 28 foot-long tensor rods. Recently, the Jewel Box has been converted into creative spaces for artists.

In 2009, Bacardi moved its headquarters to Coral Gables.  For several years, the Biscayne property was left abandoned. In October 2012, the complex was officially sold to the National Young Arts Foundation. The Foundation converted the buildings into the Young Arts Campus, a multidisciplinary cultural center for emerging artists. The organization is currently working with renowned architect Frank Gehry to remodel the interior of the building.

 -Ursa Gil


Sources:

Ex-Bacardi buildings in Edgewater head for historic roles. (2018, May 08). Retrieved from https://www.miamitodaynews.com/2018/05/08/ex-bacardi-buildings-in-edgewater-head-for-historic-roles/

Bacardi Building. (2014, December 03). Retrieved from http://flashbackmiami.com/2014/12/03/bacardi-building/

 

 

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