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Tropical Modern Architecture with Ralph Choeff

By Angela Betancourt

Award-winning architect Ralph Choeff is one of the leaders of the Tropical Modern architectural movements in South Florida. Along with his partners at the Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture & Design firm, the team has mastered the art of Tropical Modern architecture. They’ve designed some of the most celebrated homes and hotels in the city; including the Mondrian South Beach Hotel and The Anglers Hotel, both in South Beach.

Photography Courtesy of Choeff Levy Fischman Architects

Photography Courtesy of Choeff Levy Fischman Architects

One of their recent projects, the Rivo Alto Island Residence in Miami Beach, is a stunning example of how well Tropical Modern architecture plays into its surroundings. The home blends the interior with the exterior by using tall and expansive windows and sliding glass doors for maximum views and enjoyment. The interior of the home radiates a Zen-like atmosphere that, as Choeff would describe it, takes the owner to a place outside the experience of the day-to-day.

A native New Yorker, Choeff moved to Miami in 1978 after graduating from the Pratt Institute with a Bachelor of Architecture degree.

“I believed that Miami was ready to experience real architectural growth after being stagnant for many years. I felt Miami gave me the best opportunity to succeed and offered the weather I desired,” he said.

Photographed by Mark Surloff

Photographed by Mark Surloff

And succeed he did. Choeff has become a highly sought-after architect and has been commissioned by many celebrities and VIP’s including Cher, Matt Damon, Barry Gibb, Alex Rodriguez and many others. His work has been featured on national TV programs such as the Today Show and in various high profile design magazines like Hospitality Design. His name has become synonymous with Tropical Modern architecture in South Florida.

“My biggest professional accomplishment today, I believe, is how far I have come in the evolution of my professional career and how I approach design. I am proud to have been one of the leaders in the movement of Tropical Modern architecture in South Florida,” shared Choeff.

Choeff’s success in this space evolved from his love of modern architecture. In college, he began to admire the work of Walter Gropius, a German architect known as one of the pioneers of modern architecture who was also the founder of the Bauhaus School.

Photographed by Mark Surloff

Photographed by Mark Surloff

“The modern glass skyscrapers of NYC were inspirational to me. When I moved to South Florida, I yearned for the opportunity to produce modern architecture. Once I got that and started designing modern buildings, tropical architecture evolved when technology allowed us to create vast and tall sliding glass door openings which also allowed us to take advantage of our climate. Tropical Modern architecture was a natural evolution that stemmed from that,” he said.

As this New Year begins to unfold, Choeff will undoubtedly continue to make strides. He is very excited about all of the firm’s current and upcoming projects and has high ambitions for the future. His ultimate dream project is to build something so successful it will gain enough notoriety to positively inspire the industry and that is one more thing he can be proud of.

For more information on Ralph Choeff & Choeff Levy Fischman Architecture & Design, please visit www.clfarchitects.com

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