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Building of the Month

Building of the Month: 955 Alton Road

The Miami Ad School,

955 Alton Road, has caught the attention of passers-by since it was completed in 1950.

The Miami Modern (MiMo) building was once known as the Hibiscus Masonic Lodge and was designed by noted architect Norman M. Giller.

MiMo became popular after World War II and made use of newly available materials such as flagstone, which can be seen on the northwest corner of this building.  The Hibiscus Masonic Lodge occupied the building for over 40 years before the group moved to Coral Gables. The Miami Ad School has been in the building since 1993 when the school was founded with 6 students. There are now 10Miami Ad School locations around the globe and it is considered one of the top ad schools in the world.

The design and materials of this building reflect the popular architecture trends of the period following World War II. A 2001 Miami New Times article referred to architect Norman Giller as “the man who made MiMo.” Giller himself had a different view. “Styles are something that historians give to architecture,” says Giller. “Architecture actually represents the people of that particular time and the technology of that time.”  Norman Giller continued to work in Miami Beach until his death in 2008. He is well-known as one of Florida’s most prolific and influential architects of the MiMo style. His firm designed more than 11,000 buildings in the U.S. and in South America. GIller pioneered the use of air conditioning, flat-slab construction techniques, and early motel design. Two of his other buildings include the Carillon Hotel and the North Shore Community Center in Miami Beach.

The 955 Alton Road building is located in the locally designated Flamingo Park Historic District. It was added to the district in 2008 as part of the westward expansion of the Flamingo Park District.  This expansion area includes buildings mainly from the post-World War II period. 955 Alton Road is the only non-residential building in the expansion area. This expansion extended the district from Lenox Lane to include the east side of Alton Road.