A few years ago at Curbed Miami, I wrote about the Chart House, a waterfront restaurant in Coconut Grove that had been around for years but was up for demolition along with the longtime local hangout Scotty’s Landing, in the wake of the redevelopment of the Coconut Grove Waterfront.
While most of the public attention was focused on the future of Scotty’s, on Curbed I asked if the architecturally interesting Chart House was worth preservation, and investigated the architect of the building who, as a Curbed reader discovered, was the Hawaii-based architect Joe Lancor, who designed many Chart Houses (it was part of a chain of fine dining establishments) across the country, each one of them interesting and unique.
The building was a low slung structure shaped like a pelican with its wings outstretched, perhaps referencing the aeronautical history of the area. (City Hall, nearby, was formerly the Pan Am Seaplane Base) with views out to Biscayne Bay under deep eves. The atmospheric interior, meant to feel cozy and intimate, was lightened with skylights, creating dramatic juxtapositions of light and dark spaces. Natural woods were offset with raw concrete walls. It really was quite stunning.
The Chart House was demolished last week. Photographer Larry Shane explored the site and the half-destroyed remnants of the one beautiful restaurant mid-demolition and was kind enough to share his photographs with The Big Bubble.