Originally completed in 1925, Miami's Freedom Tower has been a community icon ever since the federal government used the 14-story building during the 1960s and 1970s to process, document and provide health-care services for Cuban immigrants. But it was only in 2010 that the structure underwent its first top-to-bottom exterior restoration.
The renovation of the national historic landmark, now owned by Miami Dade College, included the conservation, repair, re-anchoring and selective replacement of the building's Baroque neo-classical cast-stone ornaments and stucco, all of which had to be completed in accordance with federal historic preservation standards. The project also required the repair of existing structural damage, the restoration of the tower's cupola and ballroom, and the replacement of more than 350 original windows with impact-resistant historical replicas. Because the existing structure was in such poor condition that exterior scaffolding could not be tied into the building, supplemental structural supports were needed, adding another difficulty.
This year's judges were impressed. Said one, "It just doesn't get much more challenging than this. Outstanding work!" Added another, "An outstanding restoration. The community should be very proud."
Owner Miami Dade College, Miami
Architect Rodriguez & Quiroga Architects, Coral Gables, Fla.
General Contractor Kaufman Lynn Construction, Boca Raton, Fla.
Structural Engineer DDA Engineers, Miami
Conservator Aeon Preservation Services, Bladensburg, Md.
Restoration Firm Contracting Specialists, Pompano Beach, Fla.