MIAMI BEACH, Fla., April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- To commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Florida), the organization recently launched a Top 100 Buildings online competition. Four weeks and 2.4 million votes later, the much-anticipated results are in. The top five winners were announced today at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, the iconic structure that came in Number One in the state after garnering the most votes from the public.
"We are thrilled with the overwhelming response from the public," said Vicki Long, Executive Director of AIA Florida. "We hope this competition succeeded in highlighting the accomplishments of so many talented architects who have contributed to the rich, colorful skyline in Florida."
The competition was launched last month in Tallahassee on the steps of the Historic Old Capitol (a top 100 building) to feature the beauty and wonder of Florida's architecture. The buildings in the competition were nominated by AIA Florida's local chapters, which submitted standout buildings in their regions to a panel of acclaimed architects, who then narrowed the list to the top 100 buildings.
"Behind every magnificent structure is an architect who helped create it. Architects are truly the backbone of Florida's progress," said Peter W. Jones, AIA, President of AIA Florida. "Through their votes, several million Floridians have told us they get it — that they appreciate the beauty and importance of Florida's most unforgettable buildings."
Fontainebleau Miami Beach has stood as an American architectural icon since its grand opening in 1954. The most significant building of architect Morris Lapidus' career, Fontainebleau Miami Beach's emblematic curvilinear design came to define the Miami Beach skyline. Marked by Lapidus' signature details – such as bow-tie design motifs, circular ceilings and columns, and the infamous "Staircase to Nowhere" – Fontainebleau was the first of its kind.
"In 2008, Jeffrey & the Soffer family re-opened the Fontainebleau Miami Beach after a billion dollar renovation which sought to uncover Morris Lapidus' original vision, and mark a rebirth of an enduring architectural landmark in Miami Beach," said Phil Goldfarb, President and Chief Operating Officer of Fontainebleau Miami Beach. "This award is a testament to the magnificent restoration of Lapidus' work and the international team of architects assembled to accomplish that task. We are honored and want to thank the millions who voted to help us achieve this top placement."
AIA Florida also announced the runners-up in the competition, which generated a flurry of activity on social media platforms including tweets by none other than @realDonaldTrump.
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)
"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."
The online competition was open to members of the public, who could vote as often as they liked. The voting began on March 13 at www.aiaFLAtop100.org and continued through April 6.
AIA Florida recognized the top building in 13 different categories, including one for write-in nominations and a special winner determined only by architects' votes.
Performing Arts – Florida Theatre Building (Jacksonville)
Civic – Boca Raton Town Hall (Boca Raton)
Commercial – Espirito Santo Plaza (Miami)
Educational - University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville)
Historic – Mar-a-Lago National Historic Landmark (Palm Beach)
Hotel – Fontainebleau Hotel (Miami Beach)
Museum – Dali Museum (St. Petersburg)
Public Use – City Park Municipal Garage (Ft. Lauderdale)
Recreational – Cinderella Castle (Orlando)
Religious – Mandi's Chapel (Live Oak)
Residential – Walker Guest House (Sanibel)
Write-In – Ponce de Leon Hotel/Flagler College (St. Augustine)
Architects' Favorite - University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville)
Today's announcement of the winners of the "Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places" competition coincides with April's designation as Architecture Month, as proclaimed recently by Governor Rick Scott. AIA Florida also has plans to host several events across the region, including the 100th Anniversary Convention & Tradeshow at The Breakers in Palm Beach over the summer and a special anniversary celebration event on December 14.
About Fontainebleau Miami Beach
A revered Miami Beach landmark for more than 50 years set on more than 20 oceanfront acres, Fontainebleau Miami Beach boasts 1,504 new guestrooms and suites outfitted with iMacs; 12 restaurants and lounges, most notably three AAA Four Diamond signature restaurants, Gotham Steak, Scarpetta and Hakkasan; two dynamic nightlife venues; the 40,000-square-foot Lapis spa with mineral-rich water therapies and co-ed swimming pools; and a dramatic oceanfront poolscape.
For general information or accommodations at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, visit www.fontainebleau.com or call 1.877.512.8002.
About AIA Florida
The Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects, headquartered in Tallahassee, represents the interests of more than 3,600 members in Florida and the Caribbean. Members adhere to a code of ethics and professional conduct that assures the client, the public and colleagues of an AIA-member architect's dedication to the highest standards in professional practice. For more information, visit www.aiafla.org.
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