RESTORING VIZCAYA VILLAGE
Plans are underway at Vizcaya that will enhance every visit to this Miami icon by expanding visitors’ understanding of daily life at the estate 100 years ago.
Sheltered under large banyan trees across South Miami Avenue from the Main House and gardens is Vizcaya Village, a lesser-known part of the original Vizcaya property which consists of 11 buildings on 12 acres. The Village is slated for a major restoration project that will reunite the two sides of the estate and integrate the historic Village into the visitor experience. This plan will use the Village to build on Vizcaya’s historical significance and expand its role in Miami, creating new spaces and programs.
“Vizcaya Village will cement Vizcaya’s role as Miami’s cultural hub -- a welcoming space where the community -- locals and visitors alike – can explore art, history and nature in one place,” explains Joel Hoffman, Vizcaya’s executive director. “By revisiting the early days of Miami, we are reinventing its future.”
During the past several years, extensive research has been conducted to uncover the history and function of Vizcaya Village. Originally, the Village helped ensure that Vizcaya would be virtually self-sufficient. This idea evoked the spirit of European estates that served as an inspiration for Vizcaya. On a practical level, the Village helped compensate for the limited goods and services available in early twentieth-century Miami. Laborers, gardeners and staff members lived and worked at the Village to sustain the property. The Village buildings housed staff quarters, workshops, an automobile garage and barns for domesticated animals. A greenhouse supplied fresh flowers, fruit and vegetables. A herd of cows provided milk, and chickens furnished a ready supply of fresh eggs. A farm stand sold surplus eggs and produce.
Structural assessments of the historic buildings at Vizcaya Village are now complete, and initial ideas for the restoration of the Village were discussed during a series of public forums held in 2015. Local residents shared personal memories, discussed Vizcaya's historical and cultural significance, and emphasized the importance of preserving Vizcaya's natural habitats.
The vision for the Village aims to educate and unite the community and serve Vizcaya’s growing visitation while respecting the needs of Vizcaya’s neighbors:
Vizcaya has launched an ambitious capital campaign to fund the restoration of the original structures and to build additional spaces for visitors, families, students and the community to enjoy. In embracing Vizcaya’s vision through these restoration plans, the community, financial supporters and residents near this crossroads of Miami’s history hope to benefit from this cultural hub for generations. Of course, the essential and ongoing work to maintain and revitalize Vizcaya Museum and Gardens would not be possible without the critical support of Miami-Dade County and the generous donors who will help keep history alive for South Florida residents and visitors from around the world for years to come.