11 Most Endangered Historic Places
Miami Marine Stadium
Year Listed: 2009
Location: Key Biscayne, Miami, Florida
Threat: Development, Deterioration, Neglect
Completed in 1963, Miami Marine Stadium, on Virginia Key, is both a South Florida landmark and an icon of modern design. Built entirely of poured concrete and featuring a dramatically cantilevered folded-plate roof, the stadium, which has been closed for 17 years, is a sentimental favorite of many Miami residents who experienced their first concerts under the stars over Biscayne Bay. With its 6,000-by-1,400-foot water basin in the shape of a Circus Maximus, the stadium, named for Coconut Grove pioneer and boating enthusiast Ralph Munroe, has all the trappings of an acquatic mid-century hippodrome. The 6,566-seat arena was designed by Hilario Candela, a Cuban-born architect, who at age 27 conceived a stadium that would, decades later, be viewed as a masterwork of civic architecture and modern construction. Seventeen years ago, after the stadium was damaged by Hurricane Andrew, an engineering study commissioned by the city indicated that the damage was modest and could be repaired for approximately $2 to $3 million. Unfortunately, the repairs were never carried out, and the stadium, a prime target for development, has suffered from years of deterioration and neglect.
Framing views of downtown Miami, the stadium’s distinctive sculptural, zigzag canopy seems to float over the water while its columns appear to levitate over Biscayne Bay. A venue for classical and rock concerts, operas, political rallies, speedboat races, regattas, wake board competitions, swimming competitions and religious services, the stadium once was the place to see and be seen. On any given night, hundreds of audience members on private boats would surround the floating barge that served as the stadium’s stage in order to catch a show.