One might justifiably argue that the signature structure of Fort Lauderdale is mid-century trendy. On the Southeast nook of U.S. and Oakland Park Boulevard, the Occasions Sq. Buying Middle stays one in all our Fort Lauderdale architectural masterpieces, however not for lengthy.
As designed by the architect Charles McKirahan in 1954, Occasions Sq. embodies a contemporary (circa 1954) assemblage of buildings right into a coherent complete. Occasions Sq. follows within the nice custom of Florida procuring streets like Espanola Manner in Miami Seaside or the By way of Parigi and By way of Mizner in Palm Seaside. Occasions Sq. is the one one with a mid-century modernist imaginative and prescient.
Charles McKirahan was probably the most famous mid-20th-century architect in Fort Lauderdale. His buildings strongly influenced different modern architects together with his distinctive and inventive designs. The Occasions Sq. Middle is a digital catalogue of modernist architectural types and supplies together with display block partitions, geometric types and glazed curtain partitions. McKirahan’s architectural studio was positioned within the Middle after 1960. He wed his structure college girlfriend and collectively they created an architectural agency of greater than 100 professionals primarily based in Fort Lauderdale, with different places of work in Chicago, the Bahamas and Brazil. He tragically died in an vehicle accident on the age of 44.
One curved constructing on the Occasions Sq. Middle, probably the most outstanding by way of its visibility on U.S. , is at present having its defining historic architectural attribute — an undulating pink brick display wall — dismantled and demolished. Sadly, a legitimate demolition/building allow was issued by town to take away the historic curving pink brick wall on the second flooring and change it with floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doorways that yow will discover in any suburban strip mall. Yet one more native landmark is demolished and part of our neighborhood spirit is gone endlessly. The dismantling/demolition of this historic landmark is erasing an vital a part of our metropolis’s architectural heritage and considerably diminishing the character of the unique design. Distinction the cool vibe of Occasions Sq. with the tasteless, field buildings of the procuring middle simply throughout the road on the Northeast nook of U.S. and Oakland Park Boulevard.
The town’s Historic Preservation Board ought to talk about this challenge at its subsequent assembly on Aug. 7 at 5 p.m. We'd additional ask that the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) ship a communication to town fee requesting that the fee authorize employees to start the designation course of for everything of the Occasions Sq. Middle, and that the proprietor halt all additional demolition at this property. Reap the benefits of the financial advantages of historic preservation — particularly the tax abatements for industrial buildings.
Moreover, a suggestion for dialogue on the upcoming HPB and metropolis fee conferences could be to request when buildings of a sure age (similar to 50 years or older) submit requests for constructing permits, and, moreover, that the Historic Preservation Planner be notified and requested to evaluation the submission with regards to architectural significance of the unique design. We consider this is able to promote higher coordination amongst all employees who contact allow functions all through numerous departments. If the Historic Preservation Planner believes a allow software requires HPB evaluation, then that ought to happen prior to issuance of the constructing allow.
Moreover, town wants to, as soon as and for all, work on figuring out what architectural jewels we need to protect for future generations. As well as to neighborhood surveys, let’s additionally think about the physique of labor of our most outstanding architects similar to McKirahan, Abreu, Ironmonger, Hansen, Avery, Peterman, O’Neill, Sherman, and extra and catalogue buildings by the architects who designed them. As well as to designating buildings individually or in a district, maybe we additionally designate by architect.
Our historic assets are dwindling at a fast tempo and we should do extra to keep our sense of place; in any other case, we will finally be simply Anyplace, USA.
Steven Glassman is president of the Broward Belief for Historic Preservation.