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The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables

From the onion-domed palace of Henry B. Plant in Tampa to the quaint conch houses of Key West, architecture in the Sunshine State reflects the dreamers who built it.

Floridians recently had the opportunity to vote for their favorite buildings throughout the state (www.aiafltop100.org.) More than 1.8 million votes have been cast and the winners of the Top 100 competition sponsored by the American Institute of Architects of Florida will be announced later this month.

It’s important to remember that many of these remarkable buildings faced demolition at some point. Without the tireless efforts of historic preservationists, much of Florida’s cultural legacy would have been lost.

Of course, the original purpose of many surviving structures has changed: Marjorie Merriweather Post’s 1924 Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach now houses a private club. The San Jose Hotel built in Jacksonville during the Roaring 20s became the Bolles School in 1933.

But the fact that they survive allows future generations a peek into Florida’s rich heritage and history.

 Gov. Rick Scott proclaimed April as “Florida Architecture Month” and this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Florida chapter of the American Institute of Architects. I suggest you visit their website, and then visit the Top 100 winners that give Florida its unique character!

Above: The Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables

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