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Professor Commemorates MDC’s Architectural Heritage with Online Exhibition

“A Concrete Presence” is viewable at
North Campus-LrngResCtr

The Mitchell Wolfson Learning Resource Center: A 1965 photo of the second building built for MDC’s North Campus. It is named after the chair of the College's first Board of Trustees. It contains the campus library, movie and art studio, lecture auditoriums, and more. (Architects: Pancoast, Ferendino, Grafton & Skeels).

Miami, December 2, 2010 - Miami Dade College (MDC) architecture professor Jose R. Vazquez has found a way to preserve and honor the institution’s architectural heritage from its early years.

With the help of a research grant from the Graham Foundation for the Advancement of the Fine Arts received in 2008, Vazquez produced “A Concrete Presence: Miami Dade College Architecture 1960-1970,” an online exhibition that chronicles the first 10 years of MDC’s building and landscape structures. 

The online exhibition serves as a guide to the architecture of the North and South (now Kendall) campuses, the first MDC campuses built during the1960's.

In his submission to the Graham Foundation, Vazquez stated: “It [the exhibition] is part of a project seeking to document the planning and design of an institutional building type once considered among the most ‘paradigmatic’ building typologies of American mid-20th century architecture.”  

Vazquez believes that sharing the College’s rich architectural history via the website is perfect timing, as this year marks MDC’s 50th anniversary. “MDC’s 50th anniversary presents us with a unique opportunity to reassess the significance of the college’s architectural legacy,” said Vazquez.

“As Miami's post World War II architecture, Miami Modern, becomes the focus of widespread attention, the time has come to showcase not only the architectural trends from five decades ago, but also the sophisticated urban planning involved that is still relevant today.” 

MDC’s architecture showcases important developments taking place during the 1960's. The innovative and experimental character of the architecture developed in South Florida during the post-war years reached its climax with the design and construction of the MDC campuses built between 1960 and 1970.

As utopian compact urban complexes, the structures followed South Florida's building tradition of themed cities, and in MDC’s case, academic villages. Through the years, all of MDC’s campuses have become subtropical paradigms of American collegiate architecture. 


Miami Dade College is the nation’s largest institution of higher education with an enrollment of more than 170,000 students. It is also the nation’s top producer of associate in arts and science degrees. The college’s seven campuses and two centers offer more than 300 distinct degree programs including several baccalaureate degrees in education, public safety, supervision and management and nursing. In fact, its academic and workforce training programs have served as national models of excellence. MDC is also renowned for its rich cultural programming. It is home of the Miami Book Fair International, Miami International Film Festival, the Cultura del Lobo performing arts series, the National Historic Landmark Miami Freedom Tower, a sculpture park and a large art gallery and theater system. MDC has served nearly 2,000,000 students since it opened its doors in 1960.

For more information about “A Concrete Presence,” visit 


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