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New Buildings Put Bay Harbor MiMo Architecture At Risk

Miami-Dade County Office of Historic Preservation

  Bay Harbor’s East Island has been listed as one of the most endangered historic places in the country.

The island, which is home to one of the largest concentrations of Miami Modern architecture in the nation, joined 10 other endangered sites on a list compiled by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

In Bay Harbor’s case, development has already turned a few MiMo buildings to rubble. However, Karen Nickless, a field officer with the Trust, says newer buildings are just as much of a threat: the taller, contemporary-style structures don’t fit in with the Miami Modern aesthetic.

“Certain architecture just makes you feel and it’s kind of whimsical,” says Nickless, referring to the MiMo style, “but they’re threatened by insensitive development, putting things up that are not in the right style.”

Nominations for endangered sites were submitted by the public. The nominations are then reviewed by a committee at the Trust to evaluate their vulnerability.

The National Trust is a non-governmental agency so it can’t actually prevent developments from moving forward. The idea of the list, though, is to bring awareness to people like town commissioners who do have the authority to pass protective zoning code or push for a historic designation.

The list of endangered sites includes the Union Terminal in Cincinnati and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Spring House in Tallahassee.

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