Coral Gables Museum Presents “Concrete Paradise: The Miami Marine Stadium”

Interactive Exhibition Exploring the Dilapidated Icon’s Past, Present, and Future Runs October 17, 2013 – January 5, 2014

Opening October 17, 2013, the Coral Gables Museum will present Concrete Paradise: Miami Marine Stadium,  an original exhibition devoted to Miami Marine Stadium’s flashy past, its edgy present, and its spectacular proposed comeback as a world-class sports and performance venue. Curated by renowned author and architectural conservator, Rosa Lowinger, this interactive exhibit will bring the glory days of Miami’s most daringly modern structure back to life through stunning video footage, rare photos and keepsakes, original art installations, photo murals of the stadium’s infamous graffiti, and an antique hydroplane. It will conclude with a special section dedicated to the stadium’s next chapter featuring never before seen site renderings and opportunities for museum visitors to share their vision for the structure’s future. The exhibition is being presented by American Express. 

"This exhibition is an ode to an extraordinary, Cuban-influenced building that is celebrated for its modern-day edginess, but also manages to be serenely beautiful and quietly inspiring,” said curator Rosa Lowinger. “I’ve been fortunate to experience so many amazing places in my career in conservation, and I truly believe that the stadium is our city's Eiffel Tower. As we like to say, ‘It's so Miami.’" 

The official trailer for the exhibition can be streamed here:

Concrete Paradise will kick off with a special opening party on October 17, 2013, that will feature exclusive tours, outdoor performances by Parkour gymnasts, ambient light installations, and video projections of the stadium. Throughout its run at the museum, a full schedule of special events, tours, and lectures will be offered to the general public, allowing visitors to learn more about one of Miami’s most fascinating historic landmarks. Tickets for the opening party are $25 and are available by calling 305-603-8067 or visiting Additional support for the exhibition is being provided by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Friends of the Marine Stadium. 

“The Coral Gables Museum is proud to tell the intriguing story of Miami Marine Stadium,” said Christine Rupp, director of the Coral Gables Museum. “Most people in Miami are aware of the stadium because of its prominent location on Biscayne Bay, but due to its closure in 1992, newcomers and young adults have no experience with it as an active venue. This exhibit will create that experience, engaging visitors with the building and showing them the importance of preserving not just the stadium, but Miami’s unique sense of place.” 

Designed in 1962 by 27-year-old architect Hilario Candela, then a recent immigrant from Cuba, the 6,566-seat stadium is a marvel of design and engineering. With a football field-length roofline that was the longest span of cantilevered concrete in the world when it was built, the stadium was designed for watching speed boat racing at a time when Miami was the epicenter of the sport. The stadium also hosted stars like Gloria Estefan, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Brubeck, the Beach Boys, and Ray Charles on its dramatic floating stage. Flamboyant enough to serve as a set for Elvis Presley’s film “Clambake,” it was also majestic enough to host religious services and political rallies.  

“This dynamic exhibit will bring Miami Marine Stadium back to life for a new generation of Miami residents,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The National Trust named Miami Marine Stadium one of our National Treasures because it is a highly inspirational masterwork of civic architecture that served as a community gathering place for generations of Miamians. Though it has been closed for over 20 years, this exhibit will demonstrate the thriving future that awaits this iconic place.”

This year, American Express was named the Presenting Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s National Treasures program. National Treasures are threatened buildings, neighborhoods, communities, and landscapes that stand at risk across the country.  Miami Marine Stadium was added to this growing portfolio of sites last year. American Express is pledging $2 million to help promote and enable the preservation of these endangered cultural and historic places, including Miami Marine Stadium. 

“South Florida is home to thousands of American Express employees who, like us, are passionate about supporting their community, culture and shared history,” said Timothy J. McClimon, president of American Express Foundation. “Miami Marine Stadium is an icon of this community – we’re proud to support the Stadium’s preservation and celebrate its legacy.” 

Though shuttered since 1992, Miami’s architectural jewel has continued to be a focal point for cutting-edge artistic expression. Graffiti artists and skateboarders have turned its ramps and raw concrete expanses into one of the nation’s most important venues for street art. Contemporary artists, engineering scholars, architects, photographers, and designers continue to be mesmerized and influenced by its soaring roofline and panoramic water views.

American Express, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Coral Gables Museum will host a preview of Concrete Paradise for media on Tuesday, October 15, at 6:30 PM. To RSVP, please contact 202-588-6161 or Promotional photos of the exhibit can be downloaded at this address:

Suggested tweet: Check out the @GablesMuseum exhibit on Miami #MarineStadium. Starts 10/17 #ConcreteParadise @PresNation @americanexpress


About the Coral Gables Museum

The Coral Gables Museum, with its beautiful gallery spaces, community meeting room, courtyard, and plaza, serves as the cultural center of The City Beautiful. Its mission is to celebrate the civic arts of architecture and urban and environmental design, including fostering an appreciation for the history and cultural landscape of Coral Gables. The museum cultivates effective partnerships and provides programming, including exhibitions, collections, lectures, tours, publications, and special events. The museum is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) operating an educational cultural institution in a city-owned facility. For more information, visit

About American Express

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at and connect with us on,,,, and

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places. For more information, visit

About Friends of Miami Marine Stadium

Friends of Miami Marine Stadium (FMMS), a not-for-profit organization, was founded in 2008 to save and restore Miami Marine Stadium. Built in 1963 and shuttered in 1992, the stadium was designated a National Treasure in 2012 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. FMMS's plan not only will renovate the majestic structure, but create a waterfront marine stadium park as a public space for concerts, triathlons, boat races, festivals, spectacles, and community events. The Antique Boat Museum of Clayton, NY will work with FMMS to develop a satellite maritime museum that will also be housed there. Despite more than 20 years of vandalism and neglect, the 6,566-seat stadium built of poured-in-place concrete is structurally sound and is considered an engineering marvel now studied internationally. In depth information can be found online at




The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places., @SavingPlaces