Home » [Antisteez Interview]: HGTV’s Mark Diaz @ The Miami Marine Stadium

[Antisteez Interview]: HGTV’s Mark Diaz @ The Miami Marine Stadium

Category: Interviews   Posted by:   on September 9th, 2011

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Miami is a city of many faces and many places; a veritable hive buzzing with culture, history and personalities galore. So, you can imagine how amazing it was when I got a chance to sit with HGTV Design Star Season 6 Finalist, Miami’s own Mark Diaz and talk about design, the city’s landmarks and how he landed a coveted spot on one of HGTVs most-popular shows. And while chatting with Mark was wonderful, the fact that he chose Miami Marine Stadium as the place for our Antisteez rendezvous speaks volumes about how this architect/designer feels about our Magic City and why the 305 needs more folks like him around.

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The Miami Marine Stadium was built in 1963 and sits 6,566 people.

What’s that? You have never heard of the Miami Marine Stadium? Well, neither had I before this interview. But believe me when we say that after Mark Diaz gave the Antisteez.com team a tour of this historic site, we were forever changed.

The 6,566-seat Marine Stadium was built in 1963 and designed by Cuban Architect Hilario Candela, who was only 28-years old at the time! Poured entirely in concrete, it is an architectural marvel that was designated as a historic site by Miami’s Historic Preservation and Environmental Board. It was home to hydroplane races, powerboat races, concerts, boxing events (Featuring Muhammad Ali!), television shows and even movies. (Elvis filmed his movie Clambake there. Yes…THE Elvis.)

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People docking at the stadium in the 70's to watch a concert under the stars.

For over 30 years, the stadium was a place to go and watch amazing shows and aqua sports, allowing patrons to literally sit right on the water. (People actually docked and tied their boats to the stadium’s rails to watch the boat races.) Unfortunately, in 1992, Hurricane Andrew caused a lot of damage to the stadium and the Miami-Dade County Commission shut it down. Since then, engineering reports have proven that the structure is sound, but needs repairs.

Enter Mark Diaz, a man with a vision.

Mark gave us a tour of the stadium and told us why the space, now vandalized with graffiti, broken glass and hundreds of empty spray-paint cans, inspired him as a child to pursue a career in design. And why it was so important that it be restored. Listening to Mark’s passion for this landmark was inspiring. More inspiring though, was when he disappeared for a few minutes between filming. One second we were shooting video with Mark and the next, he was gone. When we found him, he was literally crawling out of a small hole in the wall, covered in all sorts of yuck, with a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face.

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An autographed photo of a young Larry King from 1970.

“I found some files down there guys,” he said, dusting himself off. “I need a flashlight. I need to check that out.”

The space, a long tunnel that was so low that he couldn’t stand up in, was littered with debris, garbage, water and a myriad of bugs. (I would describe what it smelled like in there, but I will spare you the rank details.) Despite the stench, Mark went in there, armed with a cellphone flashlight and emerged with a treasure trove of files, most waterlogged and deteriorated, but some that were actually dry.

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Files found by Mark Diaz; A good designer goes into a space and find all the hidden things that people don't bother to see.

Within those files, there were autographed pictures of young Larry King, Muhammad Ali and hundreds of flyers and playbills for the Concerts Under The Stars and wrestling matches that were held at the stadium in it’s heyday. All of these documents were lost and forgotten, left to be eroded by time and humidity and Mark found them. Because that is what a good designer does; they go in to a space and find all the hidden things that people don’t bother to see.

You can check out all of our footage with Mark below and get to know this son of the city. People like Mr. Diaz are what make the 305 eclectic and unique and those are exactly the things that we support here at Antisteez.

And we are asking you to support Mark, too, because although he didn’t make it to the final two on Design Star, YOU can help him get an online show with HGTV by casting your vote for him as a fan favorite here. You can vote 10 times a day until September 15, 2011. And you should vote for Mark because we need more people with vision who want to restore our city’s landmarks to their full glory. Because every time someone from the 305 succeeds, we all win. And because isn’t it time that the rest of the world realizes that Miami has a lot of talent? We think so.

And if you are interested in helping to restore the Miami Marine Stadium (As you SHOULD BE because wouldn’t it be nice to have an open venue on the water for concerts and shows in Miami?! Um, yes it would be!) you can check out the Friends of Miami Marine Stadium website and fire off some emails to your city officials. We the people are powerful only when we speak up!

Produced by: Goobs
Video/Photography: Harold D. Ruiz
Edited by: Lou

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