South Beach, in the decades since its boom in the '30s and '40s, has grown into a full blown cesspool of touristic masturbation and a parade ground for this city's local breeds of yeyo. In spite of this, it has also remained one of the most beautiful and architecturally enchanting slivers of Miami-Dade. And while South Beach may be home to a range of architectural styles from Mediterranean to MiMo, none are more associated with this city's image than Art Deco.
South Beach was reborn in Art Deco. After the vicious hurricane of September 1926, which utterly razed the city, wrought havoc, and left some 400 dead, Miami Beach saw a building boom that lasted the better part of 20 years. That era of rebuilding focused primarily on resurrecting the fledgling resort community in the chic new style that had come out of the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Artes Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, which would be shortened simply to 'Art Deco.'
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Now, South Beach is home to over 800 Art Deco structures, according to the National Register of Historic Buildings, making the main drags of Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue a fascinating pastel spectacle. And while the scores of three-story hotels that compose that list may start to seem ubiquitous after a certain point, they all have their fair share of aesthetics, personality, and charm. Here are ten buildings among them that carry an especially great deal of all three.More »