The architectural firm of Kiehnel and Elliot was established in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1906. Richard Kiehnel (1870–1944) was the firm's senior partner. Although based in the northeast, he and the firm did a number of commissions in South Florida. Among them are the Coconut Grove Playhouse, Coral Gables Congregational Church, Coral Gables Elementary, Miami Senior High School, La Brisa estate and the Carlyle Hotel in Miami Beach.
Kiehnel was born in Germany and trained in Europe at the University of Breslau, Germany and the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris. El Jardin was Kiehnel's first commission in the Miami area. It is one of the earliest known Mediterranean Revival work remaining in Miami and was a departure from the Mission style that had been popular in Florida. The Carlyle Hotel is an example of Art Modern, and the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on the Miami River which he also designed, was the first Art Deco building in the area.
A number of Kiehnel's and the firm's works are listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
In September 1928 Richard Kiehnel wrote an article for Tropical Home and Garden referring to El Jardin as the “progenitor of the Modern Mediterranean style home.”