Waterfront Restoration: Undoing Hurricane Damage

Introduction: A Massive Preservation Effort

Vizcaya’s Waterfront Restoration project stands as a testament to the preservation efforts undertaken to protect this historical treasure, which has weathered the passage of time and natural disasters.

Hurricane Irma, which hit Miami in 2017, impacted every major architectural element along Vizcaya’s waterfront.

The Barge: Recovery and Restoration

The Barge had suffered severe damage over the years, but Hurricane Irma resulted in new and significant issues. An obelisk was cut in half and one of the four herms knocked over into the bay.

To safely work on the delicate exterior, a material barge was utilized, providing a stable surface for the work ahead. With the support of expert contractors, such as RedDoor Construction and ArtCare Conservation, Vizcaya’s Collections Care team diligently repaired the hurricane-damaged balustrades, balusters, obelisk, and gunwale, addressing all Irma-related concerns.


The Boat Landing: Rebuilding Stability

The Boat Landing faced extensive destruction, with large pavers dislodged and submerged due to the force of water. Excavation revealed the absence of a concrete pad, prompting the removal of sand and existing pavers.

The team reinforced the interior with tension rods, added a geotextile liner and rock gravel, and poured a concrete slab for stability. The preserved pavers were then rearranged in their original location, like the pieces of a very large and heavy puzzle.


The Tea House: Raising the Roof

Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc on the Tea House, particularly devastating the dome—a crucial element of its architecture. The wooden dome, crafted from salvaged old-growth redwood, became a sustainable and efficient restoration endeavor. The team ingeniously reconstructed the dome using alternating lattice and circular ring wedges, secured by the original steel ring.

Stone urns atop the structure were meticulously repaired and reinstalled, capturing the Tea House’s timeless essence.


Preserving Historical Details: A Labor of Love

Throughout the restoration process, intricate details, including painted stucco finish, coral stone elements, cast stone entablatures, and historic wood scrolls, were meticulously inspected and restored. Every element received careful attention, ensuring Vizcaya’s heritage remained intact.

Support Vizcaya’s Conservation Efforts

Help Vizcaya continue to preserve its vast collection by making an online donation.

Together, we can safeguard this rich cultural heritage for future generations to explore and appreciate.

Related Stories

Discover more about the art, artifacts and conservation work at Vizcaya.