The Miami Herald Building: A Historic Landmark
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Dade Heritage Trust, Miami’s largest nonprofit historic preservation organization, has requested historic designation by the City of Miami for the iconic 1963 Miami Herald Building. Historic designation would prevent demolition by the current owner, Resorts World Miami, LLC.
The issue will be heard by the Miami Historic and Environmental Preservation Board on Tuesday, October 2nd, 2:00 p.m., Miami City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive, Coconut Grove, FL.
The 700,000-square foot Miami Herald Building was the largest structure in Florida when it opened. The state-of-the-art facility, with one wing for offices and another for printing --was built on a technical scale never before attempted by a newspaper.
The Mid-Century Modern building was commissioned by Miami Herald publisher John S. Knight and his brother James L. Knight, who built one of the most successful media conglomerates in the U.S. and who established the Knight Foundation. The Herald Building’s prominent location on Biscayne Bay enabled newsprint to be delivered by barge--and made an emphatic statement of the Knights’ belief in the bright future of Miami.
Designed by the Chicago architectural firm of Naess and Murphy, the Herald Building with its horizontal lines reflected Modernist principles adapted to a subtropical climate. Miami Modern, or “MiMo,” features include sun grilles on the windows, yellow mosaic tiles on the spandrels, white marble-clad pillars, a soaring porte-cochere entry, expansive terraces overlooking the water--and a flat rooftop where once six helicopters could land simultaneously.
Within the Herald’s walls history has not only been covered, but made. Nineteen Pulitzer Prizes have been won there by Herald writers, editors and photographers. The Miami News was published there for 22 years. The Spanish-language Herald edition launched in1973 has evolved into the award-winning El Nuevo Herald.
Leaders like Alvah Chapman, who was hired in 1960 to oversee the Herald move and who later became head of Knight-Ridder Newspapers, Inc., led initiatives for civil rights, cultural growth, hurricane restoration, crime reduction, downtown revitalization, educational reform and homeless assistance. Called upon for decades by every Florida Governor and U.S. President, Alvah Chapman worked from his office in the Miami Herald Building until his death in 2008.
“The Miami Herald is a significant historical, cultural, and architectural landmark, embodying many of the ideals that helped shape and define the postwar era in Miami and Florida,” notes Morris Hylton III, director of the historic preservation program at the University of Florida. “The building's adaptive re-use could serve as an example for how to integrate sustainability and preservation and sensitively repurpose Miami's Mid-Century Modern.”
“The Miami Herald Building embodies half a century of Miami’s history,” says Becky
Roper Matkov, Dade Heritage Trust CEO. “Few other landmarks in Miami have impacted so much of our community--economically, politically and culturally. It’s too important not to save.”
Dade Heritage Trust is Miami’s largest nonprofit historic preservation organization.
Founded in 1972 as a 501(c)3 membership organization, Dade Heritage Trust works to preserve Miami’s architectural, cultural and environmental heritage through advocacy, restoration and educational outreach. Projects have included the Cape Florida Lighthouse, Dr. Jackson’s Office, the Wagner Homestead, the Sears Tower, the Coppertone Sign, the 1905 Old Miami High, the Dice House, the Hubbard/Alvarez Bungalow, the Miami Marine Stadium and the annual Dade Heritage Days in March and April.