Adam Vignau: Miami as Text 2022

My life’s adventure is made through faith in God and the opportunities He has given me. My name is Adam Vignau and I’m a student at Florida International University’s Honors College. I’m currently majoring in International Business with future ambitions of achieving a Masters in Finance. The lessons and experience I gain through Professor Bailly’s class will be translated as best possible through this blog.

Deering as Text 2022

Common Ancestors

by Adam Vignau of FIU at the Deering Estate. 28 January 2022.

Everyday I’m amazed by the number of cars I see around me through the streets of Miami. Even in the most obscure areas and at the most random times of the day I find people driving, just as I am. It seems as though everyone has a place to be and we might never have a similar interaction again. So my question is, what unites us? Despite never knowing each other, I believe there can be some common ground.

Culture is what unites people and is built over the foundation of history. At the Deering Estate, there is a story that can be told of the geography we all know in Miami. Walking down the paths surrounding the Estate, my group saw the remains of our geographic ancestors, the Tequesta natives. This society of natives left behind beautiful artifacts and structures such as burial mounds and shell tools.

Shell tools. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

The architecture seen throughout the Estate is a reflection of what makes Miami so great. With elements from different parts of the world such as Spain and the Middle East, mixed in with local limestone to create a blend of foreign and native appreciation.

Giving thanks to the Bahamian population in Miami is extremely important since they had built much of what is preserved today at the Estate.

The Deering House. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

As Professor Bailly had mentioned on the hike throughout the trails, the Miami locals are missing unification and identity in our interactions. Being able to appreciate the history behind the place I call home was an opportunity to learn more about the physical landscape that we share. Beyond language and culture, we are driving on the same streets and enjoying the land that was built years ago.

Vizcaya as Text 2022

Outside and inside scenery of Vizcaya. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

Party City

by Adam Vignau at Vizcaya. 18 February 2022.

Vizcaya is a mansion found in Miami, FL that is filled with a blend of historical and cultural components. From the architecture to the art work, there are endless details that make the estate so impressionable. Throughout the tour given by Professor Bailly, we were able to learn more about why the original owner of the estate, James Deering, chose to make Vizcaya the way it is. This plan by James formed what Miami culture is like today.

Being the James Deering was incredibly wealthy, any household or item or architectural piece was never too great. Walking into the estate you’re already greeted by a Roman arch that was used to resemble a conquest by the empire. Though James never had such plans of conquest, he simply enjoyed the way it looked. This contributed to the lifestyle we know today as many wealthy individuals of Miami seem to follow their own direction as there is not specific culture that Miami is structed by.

Replica of the arch of Constantine. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

At the back entrance of the estate you can find a statue of the Greek god of wine and pleasure, Dionysus. James Deering was very much involved in the party lifestyle like his brother Charles who owned the Deering Estate. Putting an emphasis on Vizcaya being a place to drink and have fun was at upmost importance for James. The estate in its entirety is mostly opened up to let air flow through but to also establish the concept of freedom and relaxation when visiting. This culture behind coming to Miami to party is strongly resembled in today’s Miami as there are people from all over the world that come here for the night life.

Statue of Dionysus. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

At the end our tour we looked across the gardens and all the natural beauty that is cultivated within Vizcaya. Among the grounds are hundreds of trees imported from different parts of the world as well as native plant species that have been preserved over the years. It seems as though James Deering’s love for nature was at full display and most likely enamored many of his visitors. Many of the non-native trees seen in the garden can be found in abundance across Miami especially near the Grove. I believe Miami’s natural landscape can largely be given credit to the Deering’s families efforts.

Gardens of Vizcaya. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

In the Bible it says “There’s nothing new under the sun” and in the case of Miami’s rich cultural mix and party atmosphere, it began much earlier than I thought. Vizcaya will always be a great symbol for the original Miami and the preservation of our beautiful environment.

Downtown Miami as Text

Skating in the streets of Downtown Miami. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

Concrete Paradise

by Adam Vignau. 26 March 2022.

Despite not being able to go to this excursion through Miami’s Downtown landscape, I will be speaking on behalf of my experience in the downtown area with anecdotes from the lecture.

Every morning at 5:30 a.m. I would wake up to go to high school in Key Biscayne. On my way there I would pass through all of suburbia to get to the downtown area. Driving in the thick traffic early in the morning I began to wonder what made the city so attractive.

Miami River. Photo taken by Katerina Vignau / CC by 4.0

Going over the Miami River I would hear stories from my Mom about a friend of hers that would work on the yachts at the docks. He had told her that while working underwater one day, he came across a large crocodile. This was due to the Miami River being brackish (a mix of salt and fresh water). She would then warn me that even more dangerous than the reptiles was the toxicity of the water itself. “You might just come out with an extra arm” she would joke.

On my way home on Fridays I would use the metro to meet up with my best friend that went to New World School of the Arts. On our skateboards we would pass by the large court house that stood as a monument of Miami’s past. The Neo-classical architecture truly sticks out compared to the more modern buildings surrounding it.

After visiting the different parts of the Downtown area I believe there are innumerable reasons to want to visit. From the amazing restaurants to the rich architectural history, going to work or school seemed to become an adventure in itself.

SoBe as Text

“The first hotel.” Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

Art Deco and all the Mixes

by Adam Vignau 4.10.22

Miami’s famous South Beach is known for it’s beautiful sandy shores and delicious food spots. But home to all the craziness is the historical architecture with Art Deco, Mediterranean Revival and Mimo influences. Still standing are buildings constructed in the 1920’s. The picture above depicts one of the first hotels in South Beach which seems to model a form of western saloon-style structure.

One of the more semi-modern buildings depicted here is a good resemblance of what is found by the beach. With the Art Deco style of curved edges and cruise ship side rails, the beach is personified in this building. The colors also seem to match the environment with the bright blues and oranges.

Miami Beach Hotel. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

Here is an example of more Art-Deco influences but with the use of the “Rule of Thirds.” Shown by the separation of the three even parts of the building by the long blue panels lining the wall.

Art Deco Building. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

The Art Deco “MiMo” architecture here at the Colony Hotel shows the resemblance of an ancient ziggurat. This is show by the roofline that has a geometric/pyramid structure. Buildings like these are all over South Beach as they became popular from the 1920’s to present day.

Art Deco Hotel. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

Finishing our tour with Professor Bailly, we came across this random egg shaped art piece. Though it has no real use, the artwork draws attention and awe.

Random Art Structure. Photos taken by Adam Vignau /CC by 4.0

The tour we had was extremely informative of the historical influence that has lasted so many years. Previously, I had no idea of the amount of buildings still standing from so many years ago. Knowing that South Beach has kept its identity for so many years as being the Art Deco capital, it makes the environment seem more like home.

Author: adamvignau

My name is Adam Vignau and I'm an student in FIU's Honors College. I'm currently majoring in International Business and planning on achieving a masters in Finance. In my posts I'll be documenting my adventures in my honors study abroad class with Professor Bailly.

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