9 of the Best Architects in the World & Their Florida Masterpieces

9 of the Best Architects in the World & Their Florida Masterpieces

Dec 28, 2023 December 28, 2023

Renowned for its beautiful beaches, warm weather, and cosmopolitan nature, Miami has long attracted the cream of the crop of the architectural world. During the Art Deco boom in the early 20th century, architects like Morris Lapidus, Henry Hohauser, and L. Murray Dixon shaped the city, and in the last 30 years, modern Miamian stars like Arquitectonica and Rene Gonzalez continue to do so.

So, it’s no wonder that other renowned starchitects want to leave an imprint on our city and many of them have! In this article, we’ll list some of the most recognized international architects (we’re talking Pritzker-Prize level) that have left a mark in the Magic City and the projects where you can see their genius. Come with us as we go through the nine best architects in the world and their stunning work.



— Herzog & de Meuron

Perez Art Museum (PAMM)

Perez Art Mueseum of Miami (PAMM)


The international firm founded by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and based in Basel, Switzerland, has contributed greatly to the architectural landscape of the world since its founding in 1978, even
earning its senior partners the coveted Pritzker Prize in 2001. Even though their work is very diverse in nature and style, there is a common thread in striking concrete work and transparent façades that expose the structure and create openness.

Where can you see their work in Miami?

They’ve created several projects in the city, like the parking garage/shopping destination at 1111 Lincoln Road, where exposed floorplates are held together by diagonal columns, or the Pérez Art Museum, with its integrated landscaping and patio designed specifically with Miami’s tropical climate in mind. On the residential side, Herzog and de Meuron are responsible for the shifting lines of balconies at Jade Signature on Sunny Isles Beach.



— Renzo Piano

Eighty Seven Park, Miami Beach

Eighty Seven Park, Miami Beach


One of the most
famous architects today, Italian architect Renzo Piano rose to fame in 1977 with the construction of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Since then he designed iconic landmarks across the world, including The Shard in London and the Auditorium Parco della Musica in Rome. His interest in technology has long influenced his style, creating buildings with an industrial feel and with heavy use of metallic materials and colors. This has garnered him prestigious awards like the Pritzker Prize in 1998 and the American Institution of Architects Gold Medal in 2008.

Where can you see his work in Miami? 

Renzo Piano is responsible for the modern oblique-shaped Eighty Seven Park, sitting oceanfront on the north side of Miami Beach. The building is surrounded by nature, with North Shore Open Space Park on one side and the ocean as its backyard. The design intention was to create something light and open that would seamlessly integrate with the environment.



— Zaha Hadid

One Thousand Museum

One Thousand Museum, Downtown Miami


The great Iraq-born Zaha Hadid is perhaps the most recognized female architect in the world. From the time she was allowed to bring her so-called “crazy” designs to life in the early ’90s to her untimely death in 2016 here in Miami, she produced
some of the most striking and innovative buildings in the world, including the Heydar Aliyev Centre in Baku, Azerbaijan, or London’s Aquatics Centre. Although she had a short-lived career, she designed many, many structures, and was recognized with the Pritzker Prize in 2004, another confirmation that Hadid belongs to the greatest architects of all time. Her studio continues to design, as well. 

Where can you see her work in Miami? 

Zaha Hadid’s only Miami building is also one of the most famous in her oeuvre. While she, unfortunately, didn’t live to see it completed, One Thousand Museum, finished in 2019 and has become an icon of Miami with its unique exoskeleton façade. Called the “Scorpion Tower,” her legacy is alive and cherished in our city.



— Jean Nouvel

Monad Terrace

Monad Terrace


French starchitect Jean Nouvel is hard to characterize with a single style. More often than not, he experiments with architecture, resulting in impressive buildings like the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in Paris or the National Museum of Qatar in Doha. In his designs, every project's particular people, place, and time inspire him, which explains why he has such a vastly different body of work. And this exploration has paid off because he’s been awarded many distinctions in his career, including a Pritzker Prize in 2008. 

Where can you see his work in Miami? 

Why is Jean Nouvel one of the best architects in the world in 2024? Nouvel is known to design “living structures,” where greenery and foliage are incorporated into the building. And Miami is a perfect place to do this. To find a Jean Nouvel creation, head to South Beach, where the beautiful bayfront Monad Terrace is located. Its window paneling façade is designed so residents can maximize the depth of views offered at this prime location and make the most of the light throughout the day. While its living walls and vertical gardens offer privacy and a living oasis.



— Frank Gehry

Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa

Guggenheim Museum in Bilboa


One of the most recognized architects of the 20th century, Frank Gehry started his career in California in the late fifties. A couple of decades later, his designs had conquered the rest of the world. Among
his most iconic buildings are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Both of these are perfect examples of a style in which the structures take on a sculptural dimension and movement that defies what has been traditionally considered a building.

Where can you see his work in Miami?

Frank Gehry’s contribution to our city is the New World Center, located in South Beach and inaugurated in 2011. Home to the New World Symphony, the building boasts a simple design on the outside with Gehry’s signature freeform paneling on the inside. Another condo-hotel project was planned for the Deauville hotel site but it sank in a referendum with Miami Beach voters in 2022.



— Carlos Ott

Echo, Brickell

Echo, Brickell


Uruguayan-Canadian architect Carlos Ott was born into an architectural household and knew he wanted to go down that road since he was five years old. However, his turn to fame came in the 80s with the construction of the Opéra Bastille in Paris to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Revolution. Since then he has left his mark in countries as varied as Argentina, Dubai, Canada, and China, with one of his most recognized designs being
The Proscenium for Rockwell in the Philippines.

Where can you see his work? 

Carlos Ott’s biggest statement project to date in Miami will also be Miami’s most iconic building. Ott partnered with Sieger Suarez to design the stunning Waldorf Astoria Residences and Hotel, which will be an architectural feat of nine glass cubes reaching 1,049 feet into the sky. His work can also be seen at the curving Echo and 1100 Millecento, both in Brickell, as well as Jade Ocean and Jade Beach in Sunny Isles Beach. 



— Rem Koolhaas

Park Grove complex in Coconut Grove

Park Grove complex in Coconut Grove


Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas started as a journalist and later turned to architecture to theorize about urban planning and city development. This led him to publish numerous writings on architecture and urban development, and his beliefs that architecture is a cultural and social force, before actually building anything. Since then he has achieved a very accomplished career as an architect,
earning a Pritzker Prize in 2000. Some of his most renowned works include the CCTV headquarters in China and Qatar’s National Library, and since they are all very different from one another, it is hard to classify his style. The most widely accepted is deconstructivism, as he is known to manipulate traditional design elements.

Where can you see his and OMA Group’s work in Miami?

Rem Koolhas’ OMA is responsible for several works in our city, most notably the Faena Bazaar and the Faena Park in Mid-Beach’s Faena District. On the residential side, his office built the Park Grove complex in Coconut Grove and has in development The Perigon, located in Mid-Beach.



— Bjarke Ingels

Grove at Brand Bay

Grove at Grand Bay


P
art of a new wave of starchitects, Danish architect Bjarke Ingels has made a name for himself with such renowned works as the Google headquarters in North Bayshore, California, or Via 57 West in New York. Along with his firm BIG, he has created masterpieces that respond to the needs of the particular place, people, and time. His style incorporates modular shapes and repetition that create mesmerizing visual effects.

Where can you see his work in Miami? 

Next time you’re in Coconut Grove, make sure to visit Grove at Grand Bay. Its two towers twist at a 38-degree angle to make the most of the breathtaking views of the bay and the surrounding vegetation. It holds a simple style, referring to the architect’s Scandinavian origin and their inclination to simplicity in design.



— Norman Foster

The Alton by Norman Foster

The Alton, a 6-story mixed-use building


No list of the
top architects in the world in 2024 is complete without Norman Foster. One of the most recognized international architects, England-born Norman Foster has been a household name in the industry since the 1970s, winning the Pritzker Prize in 1999. Known for producing modern glass and steel buildings, Foster favors a strong structure enveloped by a lighter material. Some of his signature constructions are the Gherkin (30 St Mary Axe) in London, the Apple Park in California, and the Lusail Stadium for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Where can you see his work in Miami?

Norman Foster famously designed, through his firm Foster + Partners, Faena House in Mid-Beach. The 17-story building has a mesmerizing facade of curved balconies that resonate with the surrounding Art-Deco architecture of Miami Beach. It also incorporates tropical landscaping on the first floor that seamlessly integrates the building with the beach. He is also designing The Alton, a 6-story mixed-use building with a curving facade in the heart of South Beach. 



— Here’s to the Best International Architects in Miami

With each passing year, Miami attracts more and more global eyes because of its position, weather, and people. And the best architects in the world know that leaving their mark in our city means continuing their legacy for years to come. This was just a small sample of the quality of architecture Miami has, with honorable mentions also going to the late I.M. Pei and Piero Lissoni. Surely, as developers continue announcing pre-construction projects, the list of the best residential architects in the world will never stop growing.


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