Vincent Scully Has Died. Here’s What ‘Most Influential Architecture Teacher Ever’ Though Of Miami

Architecture scholar Vincent Scully died at his home in Virginia last week at the age of 97.

After over six decades as a professor at Yale University, Scully spent 20 years living in Miami and teaching at the University of Miami.

Here are some of his thoughts about Miami, according to the Herald:

 

Art Deco District in South Beach… “wonderful for a city by the sea — it’s urban, and at the same time it says, ‘Holiday! Mediterranean fun!’ ”

(above photo: phillip pessar)

Downtown Miami Federal Prison…. a “tragic image of incarceration.”

 

Miami-Dade Main Library/Cultural Center designed by Pritzker winner Philip Johnson. The elevated public plaza was “a great opportunity to create public space — missed.” (Johnson called Scully “the most influential architecture teacher ever.”)

 

 

Portofino Tower in South Beach’s South of Fifth, designed by Sieger Suarez… “terrible … of brutish proportion.”

 

 

Arquitectonica-designed condos on Brickell Avenue… “Delightful, especially the one with the hole in the middle”  – and comparable to early Rem Koolhaas, he said.

 

 

Overall, he was said to have a love for Miami architecture and was excited by the new downtown skyline, although he thought that the city lacked “a great public space” due to the way it was originally laid out by Henry Flagler.

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Anonymous
3 years ago

I’ll take the good with the bad.. Love this City.

Anonymous
3 years ago

i love how defensive people get about even the slightest critical comment about Miami. Like some kind of ultra self-conscious model who has to constantly be reassured that she’s beautiful or else she can’t function. It’s pathetic really, like a little brother syndrome.

defamed2
3 years ago

I disagree. Miamians are very well aware of this city’s many shortcomings. It is only natural, however, to counter-argue dumbfounded criticism, most of it rooted in stupid comparisons to New York, Paris, or any other city far, far away – both geographically and mentally – from the tropics.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Miami is unique in geography, history, weather, population, culture.. it is what it is.

Anonymous
3 years ago

while it is true generally that there is a big NY bias when it comes to architecture and urbanistic writing, in this case I didn’t pick up on that, in fact I would argue i took away a more positive perspective from his comments. How many people here argue for more green space on a daily basis? he says the same and goes on further to challenge people to find and enhance what is truly unique about this region, and I would argue very very few actually succeed in doing so. I just see people go into their respective defensive corners anytime someone doesn’t just completely gush over Miami. His comments are based on more of an aspirational nature. I did think his comments were overly negative at all and the criticism justified.

aceraroja
3 years ago

Many tropical cities with much better urbanism than Miami. All of them, actually. So.

Anonymous
3 years ago

We have the Big Brother attitude.. “don’t mess with my little brother”

Anonymous
3 years ago

Agree completely, he’s certainly an acknowledged expert, and his criticism was balanced with praise, so no need for defensiveness.

Anonymous
3 years ago

I agree with all of his observations of Miami, especially the lack of a grand urban space/plan.

Anonymous
3 years ago

They could have done it in the Brickell City Center lot but the opportunity is now lost forever.

Anonymous
3 years ago

That last photo will always remind me of the 80’s Miami Vice intro theme clip. <3

City Commissioner
3 years ago

“although he thought that the city lacked “a great public space”
Unfortunately true! On the contrary we do have some of the best private spaces around i.e. restaurants, arenas, malls, and a science museum…

Anonymous
3 years ago

We have miles and miles of beautiful public beaches.. those are our “great public spaces”.

City Commissioner
3 years ago

True, but I think Vincent Scully referred to Urban Public Spaces.

Anonymous
3 years ago

I like Portofino Tower. The orange color is queasy, but can be fixed. It’s also tragic how many buildings have those jail window patterns, albeit bigger and with balconies if residential, trying look cool, except look cheap and nasty.

Anonymous
3 years ago

The World Center property was a perfect spot to achieve this downtown, the development could have included a large park space connecting Biscayne on east to government center and the train station on west.

The undeveloped and currently grassy empty lots at Midtown – which are zoned for mid-rise commercial and will be developed at some point – offer a tremendous opportunity to create a central urban park, fully activated with uses and kiosks, that could serve and help connect the Design District, Midtown, Edgewater, and Wynwood, none of which have a decent park. The city could make this happen by giving the owners additional density and then making those and the original development rights exclusively transferable like the TDR’s used to preserve historic buildings in the Mimo Historic District. The owners in return would deed the property to the city for use as a central park.

Anonymous
3 years ago

The issue isn’t that we lack public space, rather what exists isn’t “great” because it’s underutilized. I mean, look at Bayfront Park. Instead of your idiotic “build a park” cat lady attitude, we should build better urbanism which integrates the public realm with existing and new development. The Flagler Street improvements will certainly create better connectivity between Government Center/MiamiCentral to the bay, as you said. Connections from Flagler to Brickell and Worldcenter, the former which has been needed for quite a while and latter which presumably will connect to the Arts & Entertainment District, should be planned, too.

Midtown as a development already has intentional open space where kiosks and stuff could operate. We need more residential and Coastal Link to activate any of that activity.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Good points but it’s an undisputed fact that Miami lacks adequate park space. Why do you feel the need to ridicule someone for noting this?

“Miami-Dade County has one of the lowest levels of parks per capita among its peers, including densely populated New York and Chicago.”

The exiting suburban style “open space” at Midtown with its cheap trellises and britto sculpture is little more than a landscaped surface parking area.

Anonymous
3 years ago

Maybe because he said we should turn acres of valuable real estate into parks when already existing underutilized public space is steps away?

It’s true we need more good parks throughout the county, but should work with what we already have and encourage user-friendly urban design, which wouldn’t be counted under such statistics.

The same is with transit. We have miles of tracks like the FEC and CSX airport spur along the Biscayne corridor and into Kendall respectively, but it’s like people would rather reinvent the wheel with low-capacity and slow Metromover or expensive Metrorail expansions there, and/or Chinese fixed-route buses (*cough* Gimenez *cough*). Quite frankly, by the time any of that would ever be under construction, we could have already resolved disputes with FEC and CSX to expand Tri-Rail.

aceraroja
3 years ago

The issue is not the acreage of parkland, but how inviting and usable it is. 100 lively, shady, intimate squares surrounded by lovely shops and apartments are what MAKE cities, not a hot mile square patch of sunblasted grass separated from five supertalls teetering above more parking spaces than residents by an impossible to cross multilane boulevard-expressway. Fuck more skyscrapers, we need hundreds of individual 4-8 floor buildings surrounding small squares lined with shops, pedestrian streets, tree-shaded, colonnaded jungly passages, with bicycle lanes and intraurban transit to knit it all together. That is urbanism, not another billionaire stucco dump with a CVS.

Anonymous
3 years ago

RIP Prof. Scully. You will be missed.

aceraroja
3 years ago

Really what in the fuck could Flagler have to do with the lack of a great public space. They have bulldozed this city three times over, they could fit several great squares in anywhere. They don’t want to, that’s why they don’t. Occam’s Razor right there boy.