Miami Beach Community Church
Miami Beach, Florida
RLA Conservation of Art + Architecture
Los Angeles, California
Jorge L. Hernandez, Architect
Coral Gables, Florida
This restoration of architect Walter DeGarmo’s original 1919 Mission Style church, Miami Beach Community Church, reverses deterioration and restores the original layout, fabric, and finishes of the early masterpiece. The goal was to bring the church back as close as possible to its earlier appearance while addressing structural concerns and wear and tear. The most noticeable intervention includes a significant restoration of the front facade, which involved taking off added finishes and recreating lost decorative features in stucco and cast-stone mixes that mimic the original. Generations of repairs (often executed in inappropriate materials such as concrete) were removed. Investigation of the original colors allowed for recreation of the subtle tonalities of the 1919 palette, while using materials that are more resilient in the coastal climate.
A badly altered church has been reborn through sensitive detective work that has uncovered evidence of the original decoration and paint finishes. The result is a revived landmark that is true to the original design vision, updated to accommodate new uses. A beauty brought back to life.