Subscribe To Newsletter - Win 1 Week Free Rental!
Architecture in Florida is much more than beach homes and theme parks. The many layers of history that have
washed over the Florida landscape have left distinct styles of building.
Building Traditions and Florida home rental
From the early 16th century onward, Florida's architectural heritage has grown in many different
directions. The González-Alvarez House (904-824-2872, www.staugustinehistoricalsociety.org) in St.
Augustine is the oldest surviving Spanish colonial house in Florida. The current structure dates from
the early 18th century. Cholokka Boulevard in historic downtown Micanopy
(352-466-3200www.afn.org/~micanopy) is an enchanting district of rustic, tin-roofed, wood-framed "Cracker"
structures. Amelia Island's Silk Stocking District (904-277-1221, www.ameliaisland.com) brims over with
Victorian vacation homes in all shades of fancy. The stately and elegant Brokaw-McDougall House
(850-891-3900, www.taltrust.org/brokaw.htm) in Tallahassee is a shining example of Florida's antebellum
Florida home rental and The Gilded Age
The Gilded Age, from the late 1800s through around 1935, has left perhaps the most extensive and visible
architectural legacy in Florida. Henry Flagler, a partner of John D. Rockefeller in the Standard Oil
Company, left his thumbprints all over the state. Flagler financed and built his East Coast Railway and
left a chain of luxury hotels, train depots and houses from the northeast down to Key West. Some of the
most notable Flagler buildings include the campus of Flagler College (904-829-6481; www.flagler.edu) in
St. Augustine, The Flagler Museum, formerly known as Whitehall (561-655-2833; www.flagler.org) and the
Breakers Hotel (561-655-6611; www.thebreakers.com) in Palm Beach.
John Ringling, of the Ringling Bro. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, relocated his circus and his home to
Sarasota in the 1920s. He built his Cá d'Zan (941-359-5700; www.ringling.org), "House of John" in the
Venetian dialect, an Italian Gothic mansion on the shores of Sarasota Bay that looks as if it should be
found along the Grand Canal in Venice. Complete with a gondolier dock, an impressive 60-foot tower and
ornate Venetian-Arabic windows and fenestrae, the 32-room building was completed with materials imported
from Spain and Italy.
In 1916, James Deering, the vice president of International Harvester, built an Italian Renaissance winter
home called Vizcaya (305-250-9133; www.vizcayamuseum.org) on the waters of Miami's Biscayne Bay. Designed
to imitate a self-sufficient Italian villa, the estate originally had a dairy, chicken coop, mule stable
and staff residences. The estate was purchased by Miami-Dade County in 1952 and has been a museum ever
Frank Lloyd Wright's Florida Legacy and Florida home rental
After building his masterpieces all over the world, the indomitable Frank Lloyd Wright left the largest
single collection of his buildings in Central Florida. In 1938, the president of Florida Southern College
(863-680-4131; www.flsouthern.edu), Dr. Ludd Spivey, sought out the then 67-year-old Wright to design a
thoroughly modern college campus in the orange groves of Lakeland. Wright designed twelve buildings in all
for the campus, including the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel as a focal point and the Polk County Science Building,
the only planetarium he ever designed, making it the largest grouping of Wright buildings in the world.
Modern Florida Architecture and Florida home rental
Florida's modern architecture has taken on many different forms - from the minimalist houses of the
Sarasota School of Architecture, to the deconstructionist Broward County Public Library (954-357-7397;
www.broward.org/library), which challenges the very notion of constructed space. Perhaps the most
extraordinary of Florida's contemporary architecture seems remarkably familiar. New Urbanism harkens back
to sweeter days, and the planned development in Northwest Florida, called simply Seaside (888-SEASIDE;
www.seasidefl.com), is this style's purest expression. The town gained a wide audience by playing as the
backdrop in the 1998 movie, The Truman Show, starring Jim Carry and Ed Harris. This architectural style is
an idyllic ode to the human scale. Every spot in town is a nice walk from every other, and neighborliness
is a cherished value of the design.
Florida home rental and Downtown Naples (www.naplesdowntown.com)
Seaside's designer Andrés Duany, also demonstrates the principles of New Urbanism, but without the
advantage of a from-the-ground-up design. The same principles of scale and human connection were applied
to a living and growing city district, and to great effect.
With large cities and quaint small towns, coastal villages and vast resorts, tradition and innovation,
Florida is architecturally rich and represents diverse swaths of taste, culture and history.