The Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects declared Miami Beach’s Fountainebleau Hotel the winner of a month-long public competition to pick the best in the state, from a list of 100 buildings nominated by the group.

The public’s votes are in, more than two million strong, and they say the best building in Florida is … the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach.

The Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Florida) is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2012. To commemorate this historic event and help educate the public to raise awareness of the architecture profession, AIA Florida is planning a year of exciting and educational events.

“We are elated that so many Floridians took the time to learn about the beautiful structures in their communities,” said Donald Yoshino, FAIA and Chairman of AIA Florida’s 100th Anniversary Committee. “We intend to keep the conversation front and center as we celebrate 100 years and encourage students across the state to consider a career in architecture — placing their own unique signature on our state’s skyline.”

With the Fontainebleau Hotel, his first major solo work, Lapidus was catapulted to fame as a hotel designer. From the bold sweep of its tower to the Baroque curves of its idiosyncratic pedestal base, the Fontainebleau broke the mold of the Miami Beach hotel. The main level, comprising theatrically conceived public spaces and entertainment facilities, was built over a ground-level shopping concourse that fused hotel design with new retailing trends.

Miami also had a winner in the commercial building category: the 2004 Espirito Santo Plaza building on Brickell Avenue. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, the building features a parabolic arch in its glass facade that is said to symbolize Miami’s status as the Gateway to the Americas.

Top Ten Buildings in Florida (by popular vote)

  • 1st Place – Fontainebleau Miami Beach (Miami Beach)
  • 2nd Place – Mandi’s Chapel (Live Oak)
  • 3rd Place – Baughman Center at the University of Florida (Gainesville)
  • 4th Place – University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville)
  • 5th Place – Mar-a-Lago National Historic Landmark (Palm Beach)
  • 6th Place – Saint Paul’s By-The-Sea Episcopal Church (Jacksonville Beach)
  • 7th Place – The Breakers Resort National Historic Landmark (Palm Beach)
  • 8th Place – Florida Southern College (Lakeland)
  • 9th Place – City Park Municipal Garage (Fort Lauderdale)
  • 10th Place – Dodd Hall at The Florida State University (Tallahassee)
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