I wasn't surprised that Fort Lauderdale had only one building on the list just released of Florida's 100 best buildings. Though I was surprised that it was a parking garage.

I've always said that Miami builds everything, even parking garages, better than Fort Lauderdale does. The garage at 7th and Collins that resembles a chia pet, and the stunning Herzog & de Meuron garage on Lincoln Road, far exceed in beauty and style the City Park Municipal Garage, which I drove under on my way to work for 19 years without ever once thinking: This must be one of Florida's finest buildings.

Though I have been keenly aware of Fort Lauderdale's love for structures in which to park cars. What other city would build a beautiful river walk and then plop down right on it a massive, undisguised parking garage? It was like putting a warehouse on a boardwalk.

But there is hope for Fort Lauderdale. The top Florida building, according to the public contest sponsored by the AIA, was the Fontainebleau Hotel. This is a building that, not so many years ago, was dismissed for being gaudy and over-the-top. Clearly, tastes change. Lately I've been noticing how interesting and distinctive Pier 66 is starting to look.

By Thomas Swick • Category: hometown

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