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vizc summary

The documentation and recording of the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens was conducted as part of an historic structures and landscape report prepared by the Architectural Conservation Laboratory (ACL) at the University of Pennsylvania.

The focus of this study was to select representative examples of the existing formal gardens that might provide a model for future documentation and reveal the depth of study required for the conservation of the gardens as a whole.  Areas closest to the Bay were selected to assess the impact past storms have had on the two gardens most at risk to irreparable damage in future storms.
Vizcaya’s villa has survived remarkably intact since its completion in 1922. Conceived as a courtyard building, the villa is highly adapted to its subtropical setting. Unlike the house, the gardens have undergone significant changes since their completion in 1923. The outer gardens and the agricultural landscape that surrounded the farm village have all but disappeared due to sale of the land in the mid 20th century to keep pace with the spiraling costs of maintenance. The periodic impact of tropical storms and hurricanes, however, have created ongoing conservation concerns that continue to impact the remaining property, suggesting that without immediate attention continued loss of historic fabric is inevitable, especially in light of climate change.
historic image
A view of the southeastern elevation of the villa looking due west. 
Research and Recording
The majority of research and architectural recording was conducted during the months of June, July, and August 2003. The focus of this phase was to record the historic and existing conditions of the villa and garden. The ACL performed a materials conditions survey and assessment of the villa and gardens. Ceo & Nardi Inc. performed the research and recording of the Rose and Marine Gardens. Saldaña Design & Preservation Inc. performed the research and recording of the villa. The project schedule and scope of work limited the team(s) to record specific features and elements representative of both villa and gardens. The general condition of the villa was evaluated to be less critical than that of the above gardens with regards to immediate conservation needs. As a result, the conditions surveys and assessment work were executed in the Rose and Marine Gardens.

the boat
The stone "barge," once planted with ornamentals, is as functional as it is ornamental.  The structure acted as a breakwater to protect the villa and gardens from storm surges.