Rufus Nims: Mid-century Modern and Florida Tropical Architecture

Emily Grace Mason


Mid-century modern architecture developed after the Second World War as numerous technological advancements allowed for open house plans with the increased use of glass and a reconfiguration of indoor-outdoor relationships. Rufus Nims, a Miami architect (1913–2005), hybridized emerging ideas of mid-century modernism with climatic design that emerged in field of tropical architecture after the Second World War. Nims experimented with homes that had disappearing walls; and that could be comfortable in the hot and humid climate of Florida. This paper will analyze Rufus Nims’ role in the development of Florida Tropical Architecture, through his seamless integration of indoor and outdoor spaces. Further, this study will assess how Rufus Nims used tropical architecture strategies in South Florida, such as screened-in porches, disappearing walls, and landscape integration. The paper argues that Rufus Nims’ architectural ideas were based on emerging redefinition of the indoor-outdoor spatial relationships as was evident in the broader mid-century modern movement and Florida Tropical Architecture.


Undergraduate Research; Architecture; Rufus Nims; Florida tropical architecture; Midcentury Modern

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