Radical cocktail: Miami's Bacardi imports campus

Allan Shulman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Ron Bacardi, the world's largest distiller of rum, planned to celebrate its centennial in 1962 with a new modern headquarters building designed by Mies van der Rohe in the company's hometown, Santiago de Cuba. Instead, the Cuban revolution and the expropriation of the company's Cuban assets instigated the re-organization of Bacardi geographically and functionally. Leaving Cuba, Bacardi was re-forged as a transnational entity, an archipelago of industry and administration managed from the nerve centers of the company's critical overseas markets. Bacardi eventually marked its centennial with a new motto: "Bacardi in many lands," featuring a tropical and pan-American identity. A novel manifestation of this newfound identity occurred in 1963 when Bacardi initiated construction in Miami of a new North American headquarters building, a pluralistic and expressive distillation of modern architecture. Miami's Bacardi Imports Building advanced strategies of corporate urban representation that had been prioritized by the company since the 1920s and were part of its brand. From Santiago and Havana to Mexico City and San Juan, the company projected iconic buildings along the future-oriented vectors of the city as inscriptions of power and identity. The Miami tower, developed during a period of existential crisis for the company, goes further, as it was designed to embody the company's resilience and cultural symbiosis. Blending regional and international, folkloric and progressive, artisanal and technological expressions in a typological hybrid, Bacardi's tower cocktail re-branded the distiller as it also re-cast Miami, crystalizing for both a transformation toward ideals of the modern city.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 15th International Docomomo Conference - Metamorphosis
Subtitle of host publicationThe Continuity of Change, IDC 2018
EditorsNatasa Koselj, Ana Tostoes
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9789899964549
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event15th International Docomomo Conference - Metamorphosis: The Continuity of Change, IDC 2018 - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Duration: Aug 28 2018Aug 31 2018


Other15th International Docomomo Conference - Metamorphosis: The Continuity of Change, IDC 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies


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