The US Post Office and Courthouse is one of the most essential historic buildings positioned at 100 North East First Avenue at down town Miami, Florida. This ancient building which is currently referred to as Amerifirst Federal was built between 1912 and 1914. It is owned by Brignvest N.V. Orion Investments, and currently, it is occupied by way of Amerifirst Federal saving and loan association for business purposes. The courthouse was the first Federal Building to be constructed in Miami following a speedy growth and development in the metropolis during the first two decades of the twentieth century. This triggered the federal government to construct a contemporary facility that catered for the growing needs of current facilities of the post workplace by the city’s residents. This building became the most popular and modern Federal Building at the time that accommodated courts, post office, and other Federal agencies. After its completion, the building stood out as the only facility that fully served the needs of the federal government until 1931 when frenzied development took place in Miami leading to the construction of new structures.
The historic building represents Neo-Classical style architecture with its display of enriched entablature, arched openings, and monumental pilasters. Particularly the classic features of this building are adapted to accommodate South Florida’s environment through its adoption of wide, red tile roof and overhanging eaves. Its classical and restrained composition makes the facility a unique structure on the downtown skyline. It exemplifies the economic, historical, social, political and cultural trends of the Miami community.
The Amerifirst federal facility represents the first main federal building ever to be built in Miami that became the most modern government building in the Southern region of Florida. In 1933, the building became the First Federal Savings and Loan Association, the first of its kind in the entire country.
Its design embodies outstanding features of the method of construction and architectural style of the classical period. Besides, it contains elements of craftsmanship and details of exceptional quality which demonstrates an outstanding innovation of the time. The facility’s finely crafted exterior and the use of Indiana limestone make it a unique building in Miami.
As one of the popular historic sites in Miami, the US Post Office and Courthouse catches the eye of any visitor. Since the building appears different and unique from other buildings in Miami, everyone likes and admires its architectural design. When I first toured the city, I was pleased with its exceptional architectural quality and its choice location at the heart of Miami . It occupies the center of the city that makes it possible to note the building’s architectural design which differs with that of other buildings within Miami city.
On the outside, this building has a pedestrian walkway that leads to entrances on the two facades. The entrances are characterized by large staircases that ease the movement to and fro the building. This building integrates well into the city with its location that matches perfectly to the two adjacent streets. Though the building does not dominate the city’s skyline, its relevance becomes apparent when walking inside downtown area. The facility’s corporate prestige is enhanced by its magnificent display of massive concrete structure which differs considerably from all other buildings in the area that are built from very light materials. Essentially the composition of this building display unique architectural design using a classical language that makes it an important building of prestige.
The facility has a large courthouse that accommodates high number of people to walk around and be part of the building. As such the building was designed for public use. Besides, the choice materials and style used to design this building demonstrates and expresses the respect of authority. By observing it, the building stands out as a designated public building that is quite unique from other ordinary buildings within the city of Miami. Its characteristic architectural style makes the building prestigious and easily recognized in the city. The building opens up opportunity to learn the story of downtown Miami city as it particularly embraces several ideas of classical revival style and Renaissance of the New World, the dominating architectural style of Miami in 1920. The historic building gives detailed information about the city and the context in which it was built as well as its significance within the city.
The architectural style adopted by Oscar Wenderoth, the supervising architect at the time, largely targeted to construct a state of the art facility that matched the community’s culture and social orientation . Looking at it today, the building creates a nostalgic perspective when its beautiful architectural style is compared with all the modern buildings within the entire area of downtown Miami. It depicts the time during which Miami began to modernize and the incorporation of an expansive Courthouse give a sense of the city’s potential to grow and advance further. Its classical design shows the City’s economy was growing and was able to afford the construction of a new artistic facility.
When you get inside the building, a massive and beautiful splendor characterizes its internal structure. One cannot help but instantly appreciate the past architectural styles that have had a huge impact on our modern understanding of architectural capabilities. The interior of this facility is partitioned into several rooms that housed courts and offices for the US Post Office . It features ornamentation that was clearly designated as part of the architectural style that depicts a sense of classism to the city.
The massive structure of this building is made of three long storeys that are marked by repetitive architectural details. It is elevated above the ground by a long staircase on both facades . A building of this nature during the first decades of the twentieth century made a huge impact on the economic status of the city. Besides leaving the citizenry intimidated about the growing affluent of their leaders and the government, the facility influenced the state of architecture greatly within the city.
This analysis is mainly based on physical architectural design of the building. During my visit to the site I observed both its external and internal features and made a careful study about each of the outstanding architectural designs. My observation and commentary of this historic facility is important because it has gone a long way to create a deep understanding of old eras and a sense of history. My interaction with this building left a deep impression on history and classical architecture that was adopted at the beginning of the twentieth century in Miami. The structural study of this building is itself an appreciation of the classical renaissance. Its study is significant as it shows the meaning of architecture during the period, besides it helps scholars feel the taste of culture that the building was built in.
The analysis of the materials used to construct this building shows the physical context the architect based in its selection of the materials. For instance, the roof type was designed to accommodate the hot weather usually experienced in Florida. Also, the use of limestone as the main construction materials was preferred because it does not get moist easily by humidity. By classifying this building as firm and durable adopting a high level of structural capability is appropriate because this standard has enabled the building to withstand seismic forces prevalent in Florida.
My observation of this facility has enhanced greatly my understanding of the building as a pure work of art. Rather than seeing the facility in the normal casual manner, I managed to decipher historic information that shows classical architecture prevalent at the beginning of the twentieth century in the city with a touch of Florida. In my observation I marveled at the nature of this building which illustrates the classical architecture that expresses endearing values of Florida by its materials and placements. Besides, I admired the cultural movement represented by the facility at the time. This experience was essentially active as the beauty and the outstanding architectural style display of the building can still be felt. It is apparent therefore from this study that the time period it was built was marked by immense wealth, personality and power of the modernity that had dawn the city of Miami. Besides, this building shows the residence of Miami had a profound connection with the use of mail and telecommunications services in the post office.
Bramson, Seth. 2007. Miami: the magic city. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.
Dunn, Hampton. 1998. Florida’s historic courthouses. Virginia Beach, Va: Hallmark Pub.
Public Buildings Heritage Program (U.S.). 2013. U.S. Post Office and Courthouse,
Texarkana, Arkansas and Texas.