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From Luis Abreau in the 1920s to Charles McKirahan in the mid-century to Donald Singer in the latter part of the 20th century, the city of Fort Lauderdale, in South Florida, has a distinguished, if little recognized, architectural heritage. Margi Glavovic Nothard, and her firm, Glavovic Studio, have been quietly working to continue that legacy–and to redefine it for the 21st century, for almost two decades now.

After studying at Sci-Arc, teaching at UCLA and working for Smith-Miller+Hawkinson in New York, Nothard, who is South African, founded Glavovic Studio in Fort Lauderdale in 1999, in part because she understood that her resiliently and socially conscious approach to architecture could have an impact there. The firm brings a global perspective and ambition that links local ideas, traditions and needs with a broader international perspective.

With each of the firm’s projects, Glavovic sees a moral imperative, not only to fulfill the client’s brief, but also to create work that elevates the quality of life for all who will interact with it, both inside and out. The idea that thoughtful architecture can strengthen social bonds and connections and create new segments of an urban fabric is what underlies much of what Glavovic Studio does. Resiliency is a core part of Glavovic Studio’s philosophy, but this goes well beyond checklists and certifications; in the firm’s hands, resiliency is a value system that is about a lasting, beautiful, and adaptable approach to architecture. Nothard sees her role as being that of a cultural change agent and facilitator and she selects her projects accordingly–primarily public housing, cultural centers, parks, and libraries.

From a commercial building repurposed into a glowing showcase for women’s art, to a 132-unit affordable housing project, to the design of an innovative tech headquarters covering a more than 250,000 square feet, Glavovic Studio’s projects positively impact those who live and work within them – and the cities in which they are located.

The firm’s commitment is abundantly clear incurrent projects with the Healthy Housing Foundation in South Florida and Los Angeles; and past projects such as Kennedy Homes, an award-winning 132-unit, LEED-Gold-certified affordable housing project located at the gateway to the City of Fort Lauderdale and designed to impart a sense of dignity and belonging to its residents through a very careful massing strategy that allows the site to function as an expanded green space within an urban landscape.

­­­Glavovic Studio’s ethos goes well beyond housing, into the realm of public parks and plazas. One of the firm’s earliest projects was Young Circle Arts Park, which transformed an underutilized urban park into a 10-acre cultural center in downtown Hollywood, Florida and catalyzed the revitalization of an entire portion of the city. The park immerses visitors in native landscapes and offers visual and performing arts programming and community activities and includes a visual arts pavilion and a performingarts pavilion.

Glavovic Studio designed the new South Florida headquarters for Magic Leap, one of the most innovative technology companies in the world, and matched the company’s inventiveness with its own. The firm treated this almost as an urban design project, with streets and avenues that subdivide the massive 250,000-square-foot space into zones that allow for the kinds of intentional collaboration and accidental collision that create the best workspaces.

Even cultural buildings, which many architects see as monuments to themselves, are opportunities for social betterment in the hands of Glavovic Studio. Located on a quiet street on the northern edge of downtown Fort Lauderdale, Girls’ Club is an artist studio, a gallery, a foundation, and a quasi-public space. Glavovic took a 1984 masonry building and reconfigured the facade to create something layered with light, color, landscape, and materials that employ local craft techniques and industrial references. Because Margi Nothard is also an artist, the firm is often engaged for public art commissions. One such example is Sunset Hammock, a public art project in Tamarac’s Sunset Point Park, which explores the expansiveness of the Everglades through the study of wetland topographies and tectonic forms.

Glavovic Studio has been published in more than 30 national and international publications, and the firm has won more than a dozen design awards since it was founded, including multiple awards from the Urban Land Institute (recognizing excellent in urban design) and the United States Green Building Council.