Concrete Paradise: The Miami Marine Stadium


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Designed in 1963 by 28-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.

Though shuttered since 1992, when the City of Miami cited unsafe conditions, 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.

Friends of Miami Marine Stadium

It is the goal of Friends of miami Marine Stadium (FMMS)  to work with the City and community at large to accomplish this purpose and have it operated in the public interest. Friends of Miami Marine Stadium was created as an all-volunteer organization in February 2008 to advocate for restoration of the Marine Stadium, under the administrative umbrella of the Dade Heritage Trust. Since then, FMMS has provided over $600,000 to the cause and has never received nor requested funding from the City of Miami for its efforts. FMMS has now transitioned from a group focused on advocacy to one that is prepared to guide the restoration of the Marine Stadium.  It incorporated in December 2010 and received its (501)(c)(3) designation in August 2011.

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