Although most people associate Floridian architecture with the Art Deco facades of South Beach, the state boasts a diverse range of styles. Often quirky and striking, the trends reflect Florida’s waves of settlement and the aspirations of local luminaries, coupled with adapting to the warm climate.

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t Breakwater Hotel and a quirky building

Boom Years

From the 1920s, a new wave of buildings was designed, setting out to evoke the romance of exotic lands. The movement was comprised of various styles, from the Spanish Revival best represented in the mansions of Palm Beach to the famous Art Deco buildings such as The Raleigh, The Delano, and the Carlyle that characterize Miami’s South Beach district.

The Cracker Style

Early pioneers built houses mainly from wood, and employed designs that maximized ventilation. One of the best surviving examples is the McMullen Log House, in Pinellas County Heritage Village. Original “Cracker” homes, as the style was called, do not survive in great numbers, but the style was a huge influence on Florida’s architecture.


The last 50 years have seen large-scale projects with daring designs, including shopping malls, public buildings, and sports stadiums. There are also plenty of wonderful, design-forward examples of contemporary architecture, like the Glass Enigma at the Salvador Dalí Museum.

The Gilded Age

Toward the end of the 19th century, the railroads and growing tourism industry brought money and new ideas into the region. A more decorative approach reflected the times, and a penchant for Mediterranean Revivalism took hold. The pinnacle of this Gilded Age look is perhaps the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, a 75-room mansion and exercise in extravagance.

DISCOVER Florida Your Way


For those seeking Gilded Age architecture, these hotels are perfect.

The Breakers

1 S County Rd, Palm Beach thebreakers.com


Biltmore Hotel Miami Coral Gables

1200 Anastasia Ave, Coral Gables biltmorehotel.com


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