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West Palm Beach Walking Tour with Rick Gonzalez

Historic Buildings WPB Walking Tour

History & Architecture Walking Tour:
Learn how historic buildings are preserved and how they’ve informed the historic urbanism of downtown WPB

1.5 Credits Towards The Certificate In Classical Architecture (Study of Precedents) | 1.5 AIA CES Learning Units | HSW

This historical walking tour of West Palm Beach will begin with architect and historian, Rick Gonzalez, at the old 1916 Palm Beach County Court House (meet inside in 1st floor lobby area). Participants will proceed on a walk through time understanding how the city has developed into what it is today. Participants will learn about the important moments in West Palm Beach history, as well as the unique character of the historic buildings that shaped the city’s future. Through the lens of a Historian-Architect, participants will see how designing with people in mind, collaborating with a community, and studying ways to make a street accessible and inviting can change an urban landscape by bringing tourists and locals alike.

Historic Buildings WPB Walking Tour
Anne Harris - Black Botanical Mural

What you will learn:

This walking tour dives into the profound impact of historic residential and commercial buildings on West Palm Beach’s urban fabric, architectural language, and daily rhythms. Under the guidance of Architect and historian Rick Gonzalez, the tour centers on how integrating these building types into an urban community enhances residents’ well-being, fostering active lifestyles, social interaction, civic engagement, a sense of belonging, and overall quality of life. Through the analysis of these examples, participants will acquire a deeper comprehension of how the utilization of public structures in urban planning fosters sustainability, diverse land uses, varied densities, pedestrian-friendly environments, reduced dependence on motor vehicles, and a dynamic public realm. The historical properties in West Palm Beach offer a contrast to the modern high-rise structures, showcasing how a human scale and proportion can diversify the pedestrian experience, enhancing the overall human condition. The exploration of these historical buildings and their preservation during the tour highlights the potential for future adaptive reuse.

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Summarize important moments Downtown West Palm Beach architectural history.
  2. Identify various architectural styles of downtown West Palm Beach’s historic structures.
  3. Describe architectural details in buildings and landmarks, for example the Clematis Nancy Graham Centennial Square and the County Courthouse, built in 1916.
  4. Explain the advancement and development of South Florida and West Palm Beach in the early 20th century and how each effect present day architecture and urban planning.
  5. Identify materials & methods and Design Construction systems, products, finishes, and their application to the overall aesthetic of the downtown area and urban plan.
  6. Explain the history and historical application of the urban plan & building design with people in mind, collaborating with a community, and studying ways to make street accessible and inviting.


Please come prepared with comfortable walking shoes and weather appropriate attire. Sketchbooks and pencils optional.

Earn an ICAA Certificate in Classical Architecture


Rick Gonzalez Historian and Architect
Rick Gonzalez, AIA has over 38 years of experience in historic preservation and architectural profession. Rick received two architectural degrees from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. with additional course work completed at Miami-Dade College, Francisco Marroquin University in Guatemala City and the Autonomous University of Central America in San Jose, Costa Rica. Mr. Gonzalez is a past Board Member and past President of the Florida Trust of Historic Preservation from 2008 to 2020 and a member of the American Institute of Architects since 1988 and was appointed to the Florida Historical Commission (FHC) by Governor Charlie Crist in 2008 to present and to Florida Board of Architecture and Interior Design (BOAID) by Governor Bush for two terms 2000-2007 (Chairman 2005 & 2006). Mr. Gonzalez was awarded the PB AIA Gold Medal in November 2020. In March 2020, Rick was appointed by President Trump to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, (ACHP) where he also temporarily served as the Vice Chairman/Interim Chair. Mr. Gonzalez is an award-winning architect, whose design standards have been used as examples for Palm Beach County’s Architectural Guidelines, Florida CNU Guidebook & ULI Land Development Handbook. Mr. Gonzalez lectures on historic preservation and urbanism in Florida and Colombia and is also an expert witness on these matters throughout the State of Florida.

Rick Gonzalez


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March 16
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Free – $25.00
Event Category:


ICAA Florida Chapter
View Organizer Website


Meet at Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum Lobby
300 North Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, 33401 United States
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