AIA Florida Reveals Winner of the Top 100 Buildings Competition
After more than 2.4 million votes cast in the "100 Years. 100 Places." competition, Fontainebleau Miami Beach came in number one in the state after garnering the most votes from the public. To commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Florida), the organization recently launched a Top 100 Buildings online competition.

The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Florida) is an association of architects with a mission to unite, educate and position architects to lead the shaping of Florida’s future. The members of AIA Florida are leaders in their communities and passionate about good design, the health, safety and welfare of others, and preserving architecture through sustainable practice. AIA Florida launches the “Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places.” competition as a part of its 100-year anniversary. Fontainebleau Miami Beach has been selected as one of the top 100 buildings in Florida and will be showcased in a statewide public survey designed to rank these top 100 buildings.


HISTORY: With the dream of creating one of the world’s greatest resorts, hotelier Ben Novack purchased the Firestone mansion in 1952 for $2.3 million and appointed Morris Lapidus as project architect. Lapidus’ plan was to create the largest hotel in Miami Beach including 554 guest rooms in an 11-story building with a spectacular curving façade that first outraged critics. The hotel tower included a 17,000-square-foot lobby with bow-tie marble floors and a two-story “Stairway to Nowhere,” rooftop gymnasium, Russian and Turkish baths and the La Ronde Supper Club. Fontainebleau Hotel made its dramatic debut in 1954 with a grand ball attended by 1,600 people.

Today, Fontainebleau Miami Beach blurs the line between the glamour of the past, the luxury of the present, and a new vision for tomorrow. Emerging from the original vision of legendary Lapidus, whose daring designs epitomized a concept of setting a stage where everyone who enters will play their part, Fontainebleau combines striking design, contemporary art, music, fashion and technology into a vibrant new kind of immersive guest experience. Following a $1 billion renovation and expansion, Fontainebleau is a spectacular blend of Miami’s glamorous golden era– 1,504 rooms and suites, 20 oceanfront acres, 12 restaurants and nightclubs including three signature restaurants, a 40,000-square-foot spa, and a sophisticated poolscape with private cabanas.




Curves signify leisure, because a curve is the longest, most beautiful distance between two points. Curves stand for change because curves are how we measure change and express it. Curves signify flexibility and adaptability to nature, because nature isn’t rectangular.


Curves Floor Plan


Three elaborate chandeliers decorate the Fontainebleau lobby. Designed by Chinese artist Ai WeiWei, consultant for the Beijing Olympics’ Bird’s Nest main stadium, each chandelier is 16 feet in diameter and costs one million dollars. The three chandeliers represent Ai WeiWei’s only permanent installation in the United States and were completed in 2008.


Chandeliers Floor Plan

Stairway to Nowhere

When Lapidus built the infamous 2-story stairway in 1954, it did, in fact lead somewhere… a coat check! Women would ride the elevator up, check their coats, and make a grand entrance into the lobby on their walk down the Stairway to Nowhere.


Stairway to Nowhere Floor Plan

Bow-tie Features

Morris Lapidus was known for wearing bow-ties his entire adult life. Lapidus embellished the marble lobby floor with a pattern of black bow-ties, which are still seen throughout the hotel today. Additionally, the main pool at Fontainebleau is a modern abstract bow-tie shape in honor of Lapidus.


Bow-tie Features Floor Plan

Cheese Holes and Cheese Wall

Every building must have columns to support, and Lapidus knew that if you run the column into a lit hole, the weight disappears and the space seems lighter. The Cheese Wall was added in 1959 and is preserved along the Collins Avenue façade today.


Cheese Holes and Cheese Wall Floor Plan