The Freedom Tower in downtown Miami as of September 2010.
|Location||Miami, Florida, USA|
|Architect||George A. Fuller, Schultze & Weaver|
|Architectural style||Spanish Renaissance Revival|
|NRHP reference #||79000665|
|Added to NRHP||September 10, 1979|
|Designated NHL||October 6, 2008|
The Freedom Tower (Spanish: Torre de la Libertad) is a building in Miami, Florida, designed by Schultze and Weaver. It is currently used as a contemporary art museum and a central office to different disciplines in the arts associated with Miami Dade College. It is located at 600 Biscayne Boulevard on the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College. On September 10, 1979, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark on October 6, 2008, for its role in hosting services for processing Cubans fleeing to Florida. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed the building on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places as the Freedom Tower / Formerly Miami News and Metropolis Building.
The Freedom Tower is directly served by the Miami Metrorail at the Government Center Station and the Historic Overtown/Lyric Theatre Station, as well as by the Metromover at the Freedom Tower Station on the Omni Loop.
Originally completed in 1925 as the headquarters and printing facility for the newspaper The Miami News, the Freedom Tower is an example of a Mediterranean Revival styled structure with design elements borrowed from the Giralda in Seville, Spain. Its cupola on a 255-foot (78 m) tower contained a decorative beacon.
The Miami News vacated the building in 1957 to relocate to a new facility on the Miami River. As refugees from Cuba fleeing Fidel Castro's communist regime arrived in Miami during the 1960s, the federal government used the facility to process, document and provide medical and dental services for the newcomers. After the major era of refugees ended in 1972, the federal government sold the building to private buyers in 1974. In 1979, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The New World Mural 1513, painted in 1988 by The Miami Artisans; Wade S. Foy, John Conroy, William Mark Coulthard, Phylis Shaw, Gerome Villa Bergsen and Ana Bikic. The mural is situated in the Grand Hall on the second floor; however, it sometimes has limited access for the public. The mural is a recreation of the ruined original from 1926, originally commissioned by the tower's developer James Middleton Cox in 1926 and again in 1987 by architect Richard Hiessenbottle RA. The center poem by Edwin Markham, poet Laureate for the Lincoln Memorial address.
In 1997, the building was purchased for US $4.1 million by Jorge Mas Canosa, founder of MasTec and initiator of the Cuban American National Foundation. Mas Canosa then restored the tower and converted it into a monument for the refugees who fled to the United States from communist Cuba. It housed a museum, library, meeting hall, and the offices of the Cuban American National Foundation. Salsa legend Celia Cruz was memorialized at the Freedom Tower upon her death in 2003, with more than 200,000 turning out to show their respects.
In 2004, the Freedom Tower was purchased by developer Pedro Martin and his company, Terra Group, who proposed a new building (possibly condominiums) on an adjacent part of the property. Preservationists opposed the plan; thus, in 2005, the developers donated the Freedom Tower to Miami Dade College. Today, it is used as a museum, a cultural center, and an educational center.
The building has a heavy history and is reinventing itself once again as it lends itself to a new purpose. The building is gaining a significant amount of local recognition for its major exhibitions and growth as an institution of art, serving the community as a non profit organization. The MDC Museum of Art + Design is on the second floor of the building and offers a wide range of exhibits, which are free and open to the public.
On April 13, 2015, Cuban-American Florida Senator Marco Rubio chose the Freedom Tower as the venue for the announcement of his presidential campaign, citing the significance of the location as a beacon representing freedom for Cuban-Americans.
On September 17, 2015, His Majesty The King of Spain, Felipe VI, received the Presidential Medal the highest distinction from Miami-Dade College, from its President Eduardo Padron.