From the art deco era to the 1950s and (sporadically) even much later, Terrazzo was a tremendously popular floor material across South Florida. The poured floors with little, colored specs in any color you can imagine, are versatile, durable, can be made into any pattern or design. They also look even better as they age, developing a crack here and there. In fact, they look better with a few cracks.
Terrazzo floors function as a great passive cooling technology that helps to stabilize Miami’s hot temperatures. They can handle high humidity—either from the Florida climate or the drip-drip of a wet bathing suit—and of course, terrazzo looks a lot like glittery beach sand. Perfect for the sub-tropics.
Many great examples, particularly in South Beach, are excellently preserved, but terrazzo can be found across the metropolis. Although sometimes scuffed up, terrazzo’s durability shines through. A little looking, and you can find terrazzo everywhere. A little love and it can shine spectacularly again. The following forty photos are a visual tour of just a ‘few’ of Greater Miami’s best examples of terrazzo, all photographed by Miami’s great urban photographer and archiver, Phillip Pessar.