An architectural gem was just razed in Coral Gables. See the before and after photos

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Backhoes have begun razing the famed “Sea Aerie” house designed and built in 1963 by famed Miami architect Alfred Browning Parker in Coral Gables — a demolition that came despite pleas from Parker’s family and preservationists and architects around the country.

A new owner — identified as Felix Sorkin, founder of General Technologies outside Houston — paid $36 million for a home widely regarded as a modern design masterwork but had plans to build a new home on the site. The tear-down was made possible by a controversial 2022 state law that prohibits local authorities from blocking the demolition of single-family homes in designated high-risk flood zones if they were not previously protected as historic or architectural landmarks.

Read More: Texas mogul razes Coral Gables home considered architectural masterwork

“I know there are a lot of people who are brokenhearted about this,” said the late architect’s daughter, Lebritia Kendrick Parker, who lived in the house as a young girl. “It’s tragic.”

The loss of the house also comes a week before a new documentary on Parker’s work that has been picked up by PBS will have its premiere in Gainesville, where the architect studied and taught at the University of Florida. The Gables Estates house is featured in the film.

Here’s what the home site looks like before and after the heavy equipment began destroying the home overlooking Biscayne Bay.

A view taken by famed architectural photographer Ezra Stoller of Miami architect Alfred Browning Parker’s waterfront 1963 home in Coral Gables shortly after it was built shows the elevated pool deck with the main house behind it. Photo by Ezra Stoller c ESTO
A view taken by famed architectural photographer Ezra Stoller of Miami architect Alfred Browning Parker’s waterfront 1963 home in Coral Gables shortly after it was built shows the elevated pool deck with the main house behind it. Photo by Ezra Stoller c ESTO
Aerial view of a 1963 Gables Estates house located at 140 Arvida Parkway is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, in Coral Gables, Fla, a month before the demolition started. MATIAS J. OCNER/mocner@miamiherald.com
Aerial view of a 1963 Gables Estates house located at 140 Arvida Parkway is seen on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2023, in Coral Gables, Fla, a month before the demolition started. MATIAS J. OCNER/mocner@miamiherald.com
Another drone photo shows the partially demolished Coral Gables house, which was widely regarded as a modern design masterwork. Pedro Portal/pportal@miamiherald.com
Another drone photo shows the partially demolished Coral Gables house, which was widely regarded as a modern design masterwork. Pedro Portal/pportal@miamiherald.com
This photo shows the current view of the partial empty lot of the Coral Gables house that architect Alfred Browning Parker designed and built for his family in 1963. The new owner decided to demolish it on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. Pedro Portal/pportal@miamiherald.com
This photo shows the current view of the partial empty lot of the Coral Gables house that architect Alfred Browning Parker designed and built for his family in 1963. The new owner decided to demolish it on Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023. Pedro Portal/pportal@miamiherald.com
Chunks of limestone, concrete and brick lie at the entrance of the Coral Gables home. Andres Viglucci/Miami Herald
Chunks of limestone, concrete and brick lie at the entrance of the Coral Gables home. Andres Viglucci/Miami Herald