City Center - Wilton Manors, FL
Wilton Manors has become a highly reputable part of Fort Lauderdale. Known for its sizable LGBT Community, it has become a destination recognized throughout the country, attracting both tourists and locals, to its esteemed entertainment scene. Wilton Drive, in particular, has become branded as the Main Street Corridor of the Wilton Manors, offering a blend of entertainment, arts, shops, dining and living.
Located at the corner of Wilton Drive and NE 21st Court, “W-Hub” takes inspiration from what the city has become and what it has the potential to be. Offering a mix of retail /dining, hotel, residential, public parking, public greenspace as well as its very own multi-purpose Museum space, W-Hub takes pieces of what Wilton Manors does best and situates them strategically on one site: a city within a city.
Rather than having a typical box building with interior program looking out, the idea was to flip the typology and have multiple unique masses celebrating the space within. Removing the core piece of the cube allows for a central courtyard that is open to sky via a multi-level atrium space. Separations of the masses in the X, Y & Z directions gives the impression of floating boxes, which work for providing layers of habitable space as well as maximal air flow through the site. The vertical shifts provide height and room for numerous rooftop gardens and public amenities, while the horizontal shifts provide gaps on the ground level to allow for easy circulation to and through the site, both for pedestrian foot traffic and potential for food trucks infiltrating the site to create social events.
Along with the separations, each block architecturally represents a new function; whether it’s an all glass box for the museum, wood screening elements for the hotel component, or angled balconies of the residential portion. Each program is clearly identifiable, yet integrated seamlessly through the use of landscape and connecting social stairs. These steps can be used for circulation from ground floor, to retail amenity rooftop, to a proposed elevated public park, or they can be used as a place for individuals to take a break, read a book, or watch any given event.
W-Hub becomes an extension to Wilton Manor’s numerous offerings of recreational centers and parks. Having Hagen park adjacent to the site, W-Hub proposes to have an elevated public park atop of the garage that overlooks the existing athletics center, as well as having a view towards the eastern skyline of Fort Lauderdale beach. This 35,000 sf square of open landscape holds a potential to be highly utilized by the residents and hotel guests to walk their pets, do yoga, or enjoy a morning walk overlooking the sunrise.
As part of it’s most recognizable feature, the proposed Museum is intentionally positioned as a floating box that proudly hovers at the corner of Wilton Drive and NE 21st Court. Inspired by the renown community lifestyle that inhabits the majority of Wilton Manors, the Museum primarily functions as the city’s very own Pride Museum. When not in use, this gallery space can also be utilized for other indoor events, art shows and performances. On it’s south façade is a 20’x34’ projector screen that can be used for playing televised events or movies to the crowd sitting on the public steps. The Museum is aimed to become a new Fort Lauderdale hotspot easily recognized by locals and travelers from out of town. The sculptural spiral staircase and all-glass façade opens the exhibit to pedestrians on the street as well as cars waiting at the intersection light. It becomes an architectural beacon of acceptance, not hesitant to stand out from the rest of the masses.