Miami Marine Stadium
Miami Marine Stadium was part of a significant shift in American architectural style from staid civic buildings to exuberant structures reflecting changing tastes. It demonstrated a civic desire to project the city as a forward-looking place. Commodore Ralph Middleton Munroe Miami Marine Stadium was the first purpose-built venue for powerboat racing in the United States. Designed by Cuban-American architect Hilario Candela, this 1960s concrete Modernist icon is a sentimental favorite for many in the Miami community. The 6,566-seat stadium, completed in 1964, was built on land donated by a local family specifically for water sports. The stadium, notable for its floating stage and stunning profile, hosted many world-class powerboat events and nationally televised concerts. The last major race in the stadium was in 1987 and concerts continued through the late 1980s as well.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew damaged the stadium, prompting city engineers to condemn the structure. The stadium then sat vacant, without maintenance, subject to vandalism and prolific graffiti. In 2006 city development plans called for the demolition of the stadium. However, thanks to strong advocacy efforts and public outcry, the city’s plans were subsequently revised and the stadium was designated a local landmark in October 2008. In order to raise awareness about the state of the vacant, abandoned building, Miami Marine Stadium was included on the 2010 World Monuments Watch.
The symbol of modernity of a growing city
After the inclusion of the site on the Watch, we partnered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Friends of Miami Marine Stadium to undertake a structural feasibility study that demonstrated the reuse potential for the facility. In 2012, Miami commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of renovation after years of campaigning by Friends of Miami Marine Stadium. For the citizens of Miami, the stadium represents the modernity of a growing city and the international cultural influences that helped shape it.