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TROPIC SUMMER 2015 flip sm

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DON'T REBUILD. REIMAGINE. This was the assignment HOME Fort Lauderdale tasked five South Florida architects with nearly a decade ago for the dynamic downtown site we call Sears Town. When the shopping center opened in 1955, its design by Robert Law Weed was cutting-edge and contemporary — a bold vision for modern life in Fort Lauderdale. Set in between North Fed- eral Highway and Sunrise Boulevard, its sweeping curved canopies and glass curtain walls celebrated this intersection. Weed was also responsible for such progressive buildings as the "Florida Tropical Home," built for the 1933 World's Fair in Chicago, and the landmark Burdine's in Miami Beach. His design for Sears Town was so striking, it was photographed by the 20th cen- tury's finest architectural photographer, Ezra Stoller. However, Sears Town was designed for an audience in love with the automo- bile, and so it incorporated acres and acres of parking that were — at the time — seen as a symbol of modernity and consumerism. As Fort Lauderdale evolved, Sears Town did not, and the low-rise structure and surrounding sea of asphalt slowly started to represent an outdated model of urban planning. By the time we held our HOME Fort Lauderdale-sponsored charrette ten years ago, it had become a drab, lifeless complex that no longer suited the needs of the 21st-century consumer. Today, with the nearby Flagler Village exploding into a thriving arts district, the need to revitalize this significant intersection is even greater than it was ten years ago. So, we dug back into the old HOME archives to take a second look at what these visionaries had created for the Sears Town of the future. One design, from Margi Nothard, President of Glavovic Studio Inc., stood out for its sustainability, shared community spaces and integration of the surrounding cityscape. Remark- ably enough, it is not only relevant today, but it lays out a truly visionary plan that makes absolute sense for the rapidly morphing gateway to downtown Fort Lauderdale, a gateway that begins on the land that Sears Town occupies. When we asked Nothard what she would change in her decade-old proposal, she re- sponded with, "Absolutely nothing." We agree. Here, we re-explore Glavovic Studio's revolutionary vision for Sears Town and how it can help reconnect this central site to the rest of our community. Sustainability Why reimagine and not simply rebuild? When Sears Town was built in 1955, Sears Town was designed for an audience in love with the automobile, and so it incorporated acres and acres of parking that were — at the time — seen as a symbol of modernity and consumerism. As Fort Lauderdale evolved, Sears Town did not... 52 T R O P I C M A G A Z I N E

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