Celebrate Four Decades of Arquitectonica’s Striking Structures

“With most practitioners, an animating design philosophy—critical, social, aesthetic, what have you—usually compels a designer to want to realize his or her vision, to launch their Big Idea into the real world,” design writer Ian Volner pens in the foreword of Arquitectonica, a new monograph by Alastair Gordon ($85, Rizzoli). “Arquitectonica tends to abjure those kinds of master narratives: Ask the architects what overarching strategy unifies their current portfolio, and the response is likely to vary from partner to partner, from day to day, or simply to elicit a bemused shrug.”

For more than 40 years, the groundbreaking architectural firm has been eschewing a formal design theory in favor of simply designing beautiful buildings. If you had to categorize its works, you could use the single word “modern.” Principals and cofounders Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Laurinda Spear launched Arquitectonica in 1977 in Miami, introducing the city—then more commonly known for its Art Deco hotels along the beach—to glass and steel, to color and pattern. Their stylized buildings redefined the city’s aesthetic, elevating Miami to the modern design metropolis it is today.

The book looks across all of Arquitectonica’s works, from the early days in Miami to the buildings that have risen across the world as the firm expanded globally. “If anything can be said to bind together the almost 60 projects in the present monograph, it’s a restlessness of the architectural imagination, a mercurial intellectual kinesis tempered by a no-nonsense apprehension of the trade, as well as the art of building,” writes Volner. Herewith, see eight such buildings from Arquitectonica’s impressive oeuvre.

Article originally appeared in Architectural Digest