After a daylong and drama-filled public hearing yesterday, the city of Miami's historic preservation board decided to decline historic designation status to the Miami Herald Building. The building has been at the center of a heated controversy for months over its historical merit, getting wrapped up in the feud over anti-casino advocates and preservationists like the Dade Heritage Trust and Malaysian casino giant Genting that wants to building a giant resort on the site. To everyone at the meeting this is either a ringing victory for progress, the end of an ugly building, and a vote for the economic future of the city over its not-so-historic past, or a slaying damnation of everything that Miami has built up over time, its architectural history, and the end of the Miami Herald's grand legacy. (A legacy that's on the rocks anyways, with the paper's move to Doral, but we digress)
To many who weren't at the meeting, including important local architects and preservationists not allied to Genting or the Dade Heritage Trust, who Curbed Miami has spoken to personally, it was a big collective "meh". The building is big, it is blocky, it's a rather sickly color of yellow, and it really does block the waterfront. It has some dramatic and beautiful midcentury modern moments, including the porte cochere, some of the interiors (which weren't up for designation anyways), and the grill awnings that double as hurricane shutters.
The rather low, squat building takes up prime and extremely visible waterfront land - one of the most visible spots in the city - that could be used for a much more dramatic and iconic building. The site was undoubtedly underutilized. Whether or not the Miami Herald Building is historic, and it probably is, and whether or not a giant Arquitectonica-designed casino is good enough to replace it, the Miami Herald Building isn't historic enough.
We close with a picture from the Miami Herald as quoted by EYE ON MIAMI of Bernardo Fort-Brescia, principal of Arquitectonica and Genting architect, gesticulating madly at Becky Roper Matkov, executive director of Dade Heritage Trust, at the meeting.
· Miami preservation board turns down bid to designate Miami Herald Building historic [Miami Herald]
· Mad Man [EYE ON MIAMI]