Decay and Renewal at the Miami Marine Stadium

At the time of its construction in 1963, the Miami Marine Stadium had the longest cantilevered concrete roof ever made. Originally built as the viewing area for a man-made powerboat race course, it screamed ambition and Florida style. 

The architect who designed it, Hilario Candela, was a 28-year-old refuge from Cube. He’s described the concrete design  as “honest’ because the bones of the buildings can be seen in plain sight instead of being hidden behind layers of other materials. 

It is gorgeous.

And all though it was built for powerboat racing, the stadium also hosted concerts and political events, and served as the backdrop for a few movies too.  

Like many great old architectural relics though, the Miami Marine Stadium has fallen on hard times. Hurricane Andrew  damaged the stadium in the early 1990s, and officials locked it up when they couldn’t figure out what to do with it. But unlike so many of those great old forgotten buildings, there’s some hope for the stadium. 

Gloria Estefan, who played there in the 1980s, gave some $500,000 to help preserve the stadium, which is still structurally sound according to engineers. And graffiti artists have helped raise interest in the building by turning it into one giant piece of street (bay?) art. 

“They have kept the building alive,” says Candela the architect. “They have brought new life into it.”

Now preservation groups are figuring out how to keep some of the new graffiti in place as they go ahead bringing it back. It’s an amazing story of decay and, hopefully, renewal.