Key Biscayne

Miami Marine Stadium gets preservation grant

Closed since 1992: The Friends of Miami Marine Stadium received a $180,000 grant.
Closed since 1992: The Friends of Miami Marine Stadium received a $180,000 grant.

A new grant has put the Miami Marine Stadium in some august company.

The Getty Foundation on Thursday announced it has awarded $180,000 to Friends of Miami Marine Stadium, the group leading an effort to restore and reopen the Virginia Key landmark, under a new program that supports the preservation of significant works of modern architecture.

The Friends organization will hire specialists to study how to evaluate and restore the waterfront stadium’s concrete exterior and its unusual structural underpinnings. Consultants will also devise ways of conserving some of the best examples of the graffiti that blankets the long-closed building and that has become part of its identity over the years.

Other recipients of Getty Foundation largesse in this initial round include the Sydney Opera House, Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Prairie-style Robie House in Chicago, designer couple Charles and Ray Eames’ landmark house in California, and architect Le Corbusier’s apartment and studio in a building he designed in Paris.

The Los Angeles-based foundation’s new grants program, Keeping It Modern, is designed to aid in developing techniques for the restoration of modern structures built with experimental methods or materials, including the raw concrete used in the construction of the long-closed marine stadium.

Because mid-20th Century buildings were not eligible for designation as historic landmarks until recently, architectural conservationists have yet to develop significant experience in the restoration of some modern materials and structures.

The stadium, designed by Cuban American architect Hilario Candela, was the popular site of powerboat races and concerts, but has been shut since suffering damage from Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The nonprofit Friends group is in the midst of a campaign to raise $30 million to restore and reopen the stadium. In June, singer Gloria Estefan, who performed at the stadium, announced a $500,000 donation to the campaign.