History of MiMo in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea
The Town of Lauderdale-By-The-Sea is proud of its Miami Modern architecture, which is prevalent in numerous buildings, condos, homes and signs throughout the Town. The post-World War II architectural style, also known as mid-century modern, features strong horizontal lines with prominent vertical features that emphasize Florida’s sub-tropical weather. A prime example is the Driftwood Beach Club on El Mar Drive. The U-shaped building wraps around its large landscaped pool, an easily approachable public space that invites visitors to linger, and a perfect example of how architecture can blend into the environment.
Often referred to as MiMo, the unique architectural style began in the 1950s in Miami in response to the modernist architectural movements taking place elsewhere. Its fun and whimsical style contrasted sharply with the stark and minimalist architectural styles that started to develop after the end of the war.
Lauderdale-By-The-Sea was incorporated in 1947, but most of its buildings and homes weren't constructed until the 50s or 60s. Being so close to Miami, local architects were heavily influenced by what they saw happening to the south. The MiMo style includes transparent building facades that let in more light and air, angled roofs, winding catwalks, curved stairways and decorative railings. The Town officially adopted MiMo as its preferred architectural style in 2013.
Examples of MiMo Architecture
High Noon (Photo 1)
Decorative Rails and Pineapples: Rails are a functional element that is often used to bolster an otherwise minimalist design. Curved or circular style rails are designed to be open and light while adding interest and defining character within its detail. The pineapple detailing is an iconographic symbol of hospitality, representing an exotic and welcoming feeling.
Ocean East (Photo 2)
Decorative Rails and Organic Shapes: The arabesque curves of the balcony are likely inspired by the movement of water and the waves of the ocean. Nautical motifs are very popular with the Mimo movement and can be represented in a multitude of abstract ways, such as circles representing bubbles or portholes. The rails are another functional element that is often used to bolster an otherwise minimalist design. This style of rail is known as an Appliqué Rail, where vertical lines are broken up by a geometric or floral applique.
High Noon (Photo 3)
Concrete Canopies and Brise-Soliel: Concrete canopies are often fabricated organic shapes. The canopy seen at the High Noon mimics the waves of the ocean, as nautical motifs are very popular with the MiMo movement. Another element are the graphic cut-outs known as a “brise-soliel” are very common in buildings across south Florida. Brise-Soliel means “sun-breaker” in French, and are frequently used to provide shade to buildings to keep them cool in the tropical heat. This design element provides both function and beauty with their intricate shapes and patterns that are modular and geometric in design.
Fountainhead (Photo 4)
Graphic shapes and Bright Colors: These bright yellow “pin-like” shapes are decorative winged capitals lining the façade of The Fountainhead. These decorative column shapes are common through the mid-century. The linear design of the facade is another element that flourished during this time.
Ocean East (Photo 5)
Brise-Soliel: These graphic cut-outs known as a “brise-soliel” are very common in buildings across south Florida. Brise-Soliel means “sun-breaker” in French, and are frequently used to provide shade to buildings to keep them cool in the tropical heat. This design element provides both function and beauty with their intricate shapes and patterns that are both abstract and floral.
Check out MiMo architecture in real life at the following locations around town:
- Captain's Quarters
- Community Church
- Crane Crest Condominium
- Eastward Strand hotel
- Jarvis Hall
- Public bathroom in Friedt Park
- Santa Barbara Inn
- Sea Lord Hotel
- Tides Inn
- Town Hall
- Town's award-winning beach portals
The Town's Planning Department urges building owners planning renovation to incorporate appropriate aspects of MiMo architecture into their site plans. This could include the use of natural, mid-century railing materials, such as coral stone and concrete, as well as the dramatic use of geometric patterns and mosaic tiles.