Addison Mizner: The Architect Whose Genius Defined Palm Beach

At age 45, Addison Mizner came to Palm Beach to recuperate from an injury. Rather than moving on when he recovered, he remained, and over a 15-year period created an enduring architectural legacy that has defined Palm Beach and continues to inspire gracious living in grand architectural style. In a new book, Addison Mizner: The Architect Whose Genius Defined Palm Beach (Lyons Press), authors Stephen Perkins and James Caughman detail the rise of Mizner, who, from his early triumph with the completion of the Everglades Club in February 1917, rapidly emerged as the architect for the crème de la crème of the fabled winter colony.

Worth Avenue shopping complex Via Mizner, 1924

Known in his youth as a wit, bon vivant, bohemian, prospector, painter, writer, and fighter, Mizner came to be known professionally as an architect, landscape architect, builder, interior designer, and connoisseur. His abiding interest in Spanish and Mediterranean architectural forms, business acumen, social sophistication, and Rabelasian humor cohered to make Mizner the right architect for a wealthy and sophisticated clientele who desired a material confirmation of their good taste and prominent social position.

E.H. Hutton Brokerage Office, 1930

A richly detailed social history that breaks new ground in exploring Mizner’s financial failures as well as his architectural successes, his idiosyncratic work ethic (he is said to have designed the Gulfstream Club in less than six hours!), his complex and conflicted sexuality, and his always-exotic circle of acquaintances, Perkins and Caughman’s text is effectively complemented by archival images of old Palm Beach and beautiful contemporary photography by Craig Kuhner that successfully illustrates Mizner’s mastery of tropical forms, colors, and materials, and makes an irrefutable argument for his preeminence in 20th-century resort design.

A Mizner Development Corporation advertisement from June 1925 was placed in the Palm Beach Post

*All images as seen in Addison Mizner: The Architect Whose Genius Defined Palm Beach