Below are selected examples of my journalism writing.
Vizcaya, the early 20th century winter home of Chicago industrialist James Deering was almost from its earliest inception destined to be far more than just a big house in Coconut Grove, despite Deering’s desire for a comfortable and pleasant place to spend the winters and entertain relatives in his retirement. As soon as Deering met Vizcaya’s chief designer, or ‘creative director’ as he is also known, Paul Chalfin, the estate became a great gestamkunstverk, or total work of art.
A Hike Down in Villa Vizcaya’s Mysterious Jungle Moat—The Big Bubble
Around Miami, substantial new condo buildings by Pritzker Prize-winning-architects are on the rise, each going through similar processes of construction to ensure these often technically complex, creative towers are executed according to the designers’ original vision. One Thousand Museum, by Zaha Hadid, Park Grove by Rem Koolhaas/OMA, and Herzog & de Meuron’sJade Signature, under construction in Miami boast mockups of facades, balconies, and exoskeletons.
In the annals of urban planning and landscape design, the original ‘Emerald Necklace’ is a string of interconnected parks in Boston designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted that link the old Boston Common with Franklin Park, looping around the city. Rickenbacker Park, a new linear park proposed by architect Bernard Zyscovich also known as ‘Plan Z,’ could similarly string together a chain of existing parks and green space along the Rickenbacker Causeway, creating an emerald necklace for Miami that would be South Florida’s own version of Olmsted’s great design.
Visualizing urban development patterns by age can reveal a lot about the evolution of a city, historically and up to the present day. To state the obvious, historic preservation is a very hot topic in Miami right now. Miami’s most historic neighborhoods are not coincidentally many of its most popular, presenting a need for preservation, a public desire to preserve what makes those neighborhoods special to begin with, and inherent challenges to that preservation. Cities are also built in very different ways than they were in the past. Greater Miami is, of course, no exception to this rule, although development happens a little differently everywhere. By using data from the Miami-Dade Property appraiser, Gridics has mapped urban development across the entire county by decade constructed in shades of blue, allowing patterns of growth to be seen in the data. To interact with the maps yourself, go to the Property Records map view, and turn on the ‘Age of Property by Dacede’ layer in the upper right corner.
NORTH MIAMI, Fla. — In a somewhat bizarre arrangement, scholars gathered at the Museum of Contemporary Art here this weekend for a symposium led by a man whom city officials view as the museum’s director and who museum officials regard as an impostor. It was scheduled despite objections from the museum’s board, which ultimately gave up its effort to cancel the event inside the museum’s city-owned building.
Museum Power Squabble Borders on the Surreal—The New York Times
The Lapidus Touch—The Architect’s Newspaper
Babylon Apartments in Miami, One of Arquitectonica’s First Designs, is at Risk—The Architect’s Newspaper
Eight Years On, How Has Miami’s Form-Based Code Primed the City for Unprecedented Growth—The Architect’s Newspaper
An Iconic Miami Villa-Turned-Museum Prepares for a Major Expansion to Reclaim Its Former Glory—The Architect’s Newspaper
Miami’s New Urbanist Experiment—The Architect’s Newspaper
Miami on the Make: Adjaye, Fuller, and Foster—The Architect’s Newspaper
Postmodernism Post-Denial—The Architect’s Newspaper
To Bimini & Back Part One: To Bimini, by Flying Boat—Curbed Miami
GRIDICS: Miami Real Property Information
The City of Miami is the heart and center of Miami-Dade County and the entire Greater Miami metropolitan region, although the name ‘Miami’ is commonly used to mean any of the above. The City of Miami itself is also the Miami-Dade County seat. Centered by the towers of Downtown Miami urban and Brickell, Miami grew up along Biscayne Bay and the Miami River, spreading north to its borders with El Portal and Miami Shores, south to its border with Coral Gables, and west to unincorporated Miami-Dade County and Miami International Airport. Within the city itself are a startling variety of neighborhoods, cultures, and real estate.
Miami existed as a small Biscayne Bay-facing chain of pioneer settlements long before railroad and steel tycoon Henry Flagler brought his Florida East Coast Railway to the banks of the Miami River, opening the grand Royal Palm Hotel at the mouth of the river in 1897 and establishing Miami as a significant winter resort, perhaps the single most important moment in the city’s history.
Following the example of the Royal Palm Hotel and earlier pioneer structures like Commodore Ralph Munroe’s home, the Barnacle, Miami’s first prevalent architectural styles varied from wooden vernacular bungalows to neoclassical in the first few decades of the city’s existance.
Along with South Florida in general, Miami has historically been a city of real estate booms and busts, beginning of course with the great boom of the 1920s, which established the foundation on which the city grew and by now has become local legend. It was also when most of Miami’s original Mediterranean Revival architecture was built, including a variety of hotels, retail buildings, and an incredible collection of single family homes in now-historic neighborhoods like Morningside, Belle Meade, and Coconut Grove. Miami saw additional great bursts of activity in the 1950s, when midcentury office buildings and kitschy roadside motels shot up Biscayne Boulevard and waterfront condo and apartment towers reflected those being built on Miami Beach. Architecturally significant single family homes also saw a big boom in the postwar period. In the 1980s, postmodernist architecture came to Miami in another major construction boom, with the work of home-grown architecture firm Arquitectonica fully flowering along the southern half of Brickell Avenue, leading to international acclaim for that firm and Miami, and significant development in many other areas. It was during this era that Coconut Grove, Miami’s oldest neighborhood, also saw a major renaissance, along with the city as a whole, emerging from the dark days of the 1970s and early 80s. The development boom of the 2000s was one of major condominium growth and densification, particularly moving towards the urban core, a trend that continued in the following boom of the 2010s.—GRIDICS
GRIDICS: Miami Beach Real Property Information
Miami Beach is a long peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean lined with a collection of natural and man-made islands on Biscayne Bay. Much like the City of Miami, Miami Beach was a wild frontier until a wealthy northern tycoon came to town and saw gold where most others only saw mosquitos. This time instead of Henry Flagler the man was Carl Fisher, builder of the first paved transcontinental highway, and the founder of the Indianapolis 500, who made his millions off of Presto-Lite Headlights. From his house on Brickell Avenue in November of 1912, the same year as the sinking of the Titanic, Fisher spotted an undeveloped sandbar and a half-completed wooden bridge trundling towards it. The builder of the bridge, John Collins had ran out of money less than half a mile from its end, and Fisher swooped in with the cash in exchange for a large plot of land in the center of the beach. In time, he would lead development of the entire long peninsula and its collection of islands, which he vastly enlarged with dredge fill, giving Miami Beach its identity as one of the great resort cities of the world.
Long and narrow, Miami Beach has the appearance of a mountain range, with a tall, thin and unending line of buildings receding into a low scaled city. Miami Beach has a variety of architectural styles and typologies, from the Mediterranean Revival, Art Deco, midcentury Miami Modern (or MiMo) hotels and condominium towers in long rows edging along the Atlantic Ocean, and Collins Avenue, to the long rows of mansions lining gently curving residential streets such as North Bay Road, Alton Road, and Pine Tree Drive, and the dense clusters of small, urbane buildings in South Beach, North Beach, and the Normandy Isles.—GRIDICS
More selected copywriting coming soon, including press releases, real estate broker promotional copy, and architectural project descriptions…