La Florida

So Floridian architecture.



Not everything in Vice City is art deco and neon lights. In addition to making the world recognizably 80's, it must also be recognizably Floridian. Above is El Swanko Casa (correctly, La Casa Swanka). As an example of typical Floridian architecture, it's somewhat extravagant (being a very expensive property), but on the whole most Floridian homes look like this. Brick homes are not uncommon, but they are not the norm there.

Reason being because bricks themselves were not very common in Florida when it was first settled. Florida's pretty much made of sand. Not much in the way of stone to build with. This posed a bit of a problem when it came to building sturdy homes when the Spanish first started colonizing and even greater one when they eventually had to defend the settlement from British invasion. The wooden forts couldn't hold up to cannonfire.

The solution was coquina.

Coquina is a rock formed by crushed, calcified seashells. It's formed naturally in the oceans around Florida. Or was. There's not much of it left these days. Least not in the ocean.

See, the shit's real soft and pliable when it's quarried, but when left out to dry (this takes a year or three) it's hard. As a rock. 'Cause it is one, pretty much. But it retains some of the softness. To the point, the Spanish built their forts, Fort Matanzas and Castillo de San Marcos, of it. When the British attacked with cannons, the balls either bounced off the forts or got stuck in the walls. But the fort held. In fact, both structures are still present today. Hence why the wealthy Spanish settlers also liked to build their homes out of coquina. The Oldest House (in Florida, a subtitle they often leave off) is made of coquina. Craftsmanship, yo.

Nowadays, homes aren't made of coquina because there simply isn't enough to build with and the drying process is too long to be practical anymore. But the aesthetic, along with just Spanish influence in general, remains. Like the 80's interpretation of art deco, though, the Spanish design is diluted. The most common features are stucco texturing with a yellow or orange-tone paint color and terracotta roofing. Like so.

Some examples in Vice City.

Most homes don't have that detailing like the ornate railings and tiled trim, as that's something reserved for the wealthy. The more accessible homes are usually built in subdivisions, which prefer that no home is wildly different from those around it. These houses in-game are found on Starfish Island, where all the rich people, like Ricardo Diaz and eventually Tommy, live.

So yeah. It looks like lazy texturing and abstraction, but Floridian housing actually looks like that.

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 We bought a fish this weekend. No name yet, but look how handsome! Like a little watercolor painting.  I've never recieved a dozen roses before!
 Dragonfruit. They're red on the outside but the inside is fuschia! Not very flavorful though. It reminds me of guava nectar.  Using the wax seal set my parents gave me for Christmas to send a thank you note to Simon's sister for inviting me to her wedding.

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