Looking at the listing photos for this house in the heart of Miami Shores, one has a few questions. First, what the heck happened and how did it get this way? The place is an absolute, abandoned wreck. Second, what’s with those jack-o-lanterns in the kitchen? Third, how about that library with improvised bookshelves made of wood planks and cinder blocks? And finally, what happened to those rad comic books and action figures that are littering the aforementioned library? Listed just a few months ago for $650,000, either the price is right, or Shores houses are in such short supply on the real estate market that it already has multiple offers, and it appears one has been accepted, with the sale pending.
Faced in minimal black slats of, probably, wood, with a gleaming all-white interior, this three-story palazzo set in the heart of the hammock in Coconut Grove channels the aesthetic of a Charles Gwathmey beach house. It’s the kind of place you imagine Andy Warhol or some banker in an ’80s horror movie might make his Miami place, and even has plenty of moody black-and-white art on the walls. Listed for $2.45 million, 3930 Utopia Court was built in 1977 and has weathered the years well, being tastefully updated to maintain its sleek, period aesthetic but still being quite contemporary.=
Architect Max Strang, known for his luxurious subtropical modernist homes, has released the second monograph of his work, this time featuring how many of his designs have been inspired by the Sarasota School of Architecture. In the postwar era, the Sarasota School was an avant-garde architectural testbed in a small town on Florida’s gulf coast that melded the work of pioneering modernist and International Style architects with the realities of Florida’s warm, humid climate. Both the work of the Sarasota School and his own work explores that distinction and dichotomy between aesthetics and climate, celebrating the natural and built environments of Southern Florida. The Big Bubble also covered his first monograph when it was published in 2018. As the back cover of the impressively large book states:
The work of [STRANG] is beautifully explored in this robust monograph which highlights the firm’s site-specific and climate-driven designs. The ability to create stunning architectural designs while maintaining an acute awareness of the surrounding environment has come to define their work. Under the creative direction of Max Strang FAIA, the Miami-based firm continues to advance many of the timeless concepts set forth by the famed Sarasota School of Architecture. Strang’s early exposure to that mid-century modernism movement resulted in a deep respect for structures that are intimately connected to their surroundings as they celebrate the Florida climate.
This second monograph of Strang’s contains a collection of conceptual drawings, text, and professional photography that underscores the ongoing relevance and importance of regional modernist design. It is the architectural responses to site and climate that infuse the specific designs with character and identity, resulting in a uniquely Floridian version of modernism.