How South Beach Lifeguard Towers Saved Miami

South Beach boasts creativity from every ounce of its being, which is why the South Beach lifeguard towers serve as vibrantly painted wooden ornaments strewn about the beach. Across South Beach’s two-mile shoreline, you’ll find plenty of lifeguard towers, each painted in rich color schemes. These Art Deco designs mirror the Art Deco District in which they’re found, which houses plentiful art and culture all along Ocean Drive.

The award-winning South Beach lifeguard towers, voluntarily designed by architect William Lane after the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, quickly became icons of South Beach and the greater Miami area. When Hurricane Andrew, Category 5, blew through Miami with 165 mph gusts, it traumatized the ordinarily bustling city. The storm left 10 dead in Dade County, and South Florida incurred roughly $25 billion of damage.

When Miami was at its weakest, William Lane saw an opportunity to boost the city’s spirits. The architect began construction of 29 whimsical towers, scattered throughout all 8.5 miles of Miami Beach. Most of the towers were repainted and restored since their original construction, but some of the originals still stand today. The towers not only remind Miami residents of the city’s resilience, but they also show visitors the very essence of the city’s attitude.

Even architectural critics acknowledged the brilliance behind the beachside towers. The geometric structures won the AIA Award for Excellence in Design, and Lane, the architect behind them, also received recognition for the project. In 1997, Lane won the Excellence in Architecture award, presented by Miami Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Now, over two decades later, Lane’s at it again. Last year, the architect presented plans to create two more of these playful towers. The new towers, one round and one square, are taller and more durable than their predecessors – but they’re just as colorful. These and the existing towers embody the heart of Miami and South Beach, making them forever popular among tourists and locals.

Stay Nearby South Beach Lifeguard Towers

The Cavalier Hotel, located on Ocean Drive in South Beach, places you just moments away from the world-famous South Beach lifeguard towers. To book your stay at the Cavalier, click here or call 305-673-1199.