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Friday, June 09, 2017

What is the housing style in Coconut Grove?

I always wonder what our housing style is in Coconut Grove. I mean if you go to Savannah or Charleston or New Orleans, you can easily spot the style. New York neighborhoods have the brownstone style, Key West even has a style, so does South Beach with its Art Deco buildings. But what is Coconut Grove's style?

I guess that many years ago, we were similar to Key West but there are not many houses left like that. 

And what about the Center Grove. I know a lot of people don't like chrome and glass, but what is the style now? Is there a style?

People hated Mayfair and CocoWalk when they were first built. And I guess I don't mind their styles as much as the size. We are used to them now, but I like the low rise style.

As much as I love New York and Hoboken with the high rises and all, I don't like that in Coconut Grove. I like to see the sky. I don't like going up high here. I don't think it fits. Brickell is high, the Grove is lowrise. But for how long?

You have to admit 27th Avenue is ugly. Most of those apartment buildings have no style. Same with the townhouses in the Center Grove. Cookie cutter crap. Many years ago I wrote that Matilda Street is the ugliest street in the Grove it has no curb appeal.  That was in 2008, I think it has competition now.

But again, what is our style? Do we have a style? And when new styles come in are they changing the neighborhood so much that people cannot afford to live here anymore? Are they replacing affordable housing?

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Anonymous Charles Corda said...

Although not an historian I would venture to say that The Grove was originally a place where environmentally appropriate architecture was not only preferred but absolutely necessary in the pre- Air Conditioning days..i.e large overhangs to protect from Sun and rain, cross ventilation, rooftop exhaust and the like which tended to define the architectural appearance of the early mostly wood framed buildings. A bit later a type of Spanish Mediterrean Revival style took hold that maintained some but not all of the intelligent environmental responses that were part and parcel of the early houses and commercial buildings.. That is when the Grove started to lose it's soul..When AC arrived in the early 50's that was the death kneel for environmentally responsive architecture..What we are seeing built now is 100% dependent on mechanical opposition to the environment..hence giant generator a must in order to live in these houses..SO If we have a style it is necessary to go back from where we architecture that is responsive to our unique environment..It makes sense to employ some basic architectural responses..i.e. large overhangs, front porches covered exterior spaces, cross ventilation, metal roofs, well placed shade trees and the like.. The great thing about this is that this is where architecture is going again.We have realized that fighting the environment makes no sense..The "environment" will eventually win out.. The big boxes we see going up are not good architecture at all.. In fact they are terrible examples of architecture in that they deny all relation to our environment and our community..We have to learn from the move forward in a rational way...

June 09, 2017 10:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's always been an amalgam, as covered in Beth Dunlop's amazing book, "The Tropical Cottage." I'm no architect, but to me it's a mix of the original Dade pine cottages, Spanish influenced residences, bungalows and 1950s tract homes/ranchers--plus now the modern styles of the new construction. The variety is part of what adds the interest to Coconut Grove and few neighborhoods in Miami are as dynamic. Instead of resisting all change, we should be fighting to preserve the architecture that's worth preserving, we should be happy that our neighborhood is loved enough that the unremarkable properties in disrepair are torn down/renovated, and we should above all fight to preserve what makes us unique: the Caribbean vegetation. I'm no huge fan of the architecture of the townhomes in the Center Grove, but I appreciate that (while by no means affordable) they appeal to a different demographic than can afford $1.5mm+ homes in the North and South Grove; and I appreciate that the Miami zoning codes cap them at 2.5 stories rather than the 4.5 allowed in Houston. But we should still have meaningful enforcement on lot coverage restrictions to prevent the destruction of our tropical canopy.

June 09, 2017 10:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In a decade or two it will be unimportant because once the permafrost across northern hemisphere disappears methane levels will be so high in the atmosphere temperature will be doubled in the tropics and it will be impossible to live and work here with any type of architecture unless you wear space suits 24 hours a day.

June 09, 2017 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Heather said...

I agree 100% with what Charles Corda said, further up (1st comment). My husband and I live in one such Old South Florida home (built in 1928) - it has a coral fireplace, the original barn doors, windows everywhere, a 4 ft crawlspace and a large attic space, covered porch, lush greenery (including two big sea grape trees framing the front of the house). In other words, Old South Florida charm --absolutely environmentally-responsive architecture. We rarely use the central air that the previous owner had installed. We just open up the windows and let the through-breeze in. The yard is massive. We love it here and are devastated to see the white blocks that are being built right next door to us. Our only consolation is that we have a row of trees including majestic bamboos) along the side of the house - which will block much of the view of these concrete monstrosities. Ironically, the builders and developers like to chat and lunch on the sidewalk in front of our home, while basking in the shade of our sea grape trees...

June 09, 2017 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An amazing unique property in Center grove is one that was built in
the 80s yet has a timeless contemporary look.Unique architectural design,in a setting of beautiful natural trees an landscaping spread out,tucked away at 3001 through 3005 Day Ave.Surrounded by swails that also are lush,and beautifully maintained.

June 10, 2017 7:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The swale is city property. Did not know you were allowed to do that.

June 10, 2017 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting comment regarding the swails in Center grove,remembering back,swails were packed with cars,dirt,no grass trash.Wonderful that communities inCenter Grove have maintained the" City Property"at no cost,yet paying thier taxes.Such properties as Lemontree,Ipenima Villas,Peppertree,and numerous others that take pride in their community.

June 11, 2017 8:23 AM  

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