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Best Architecture Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 1999 - Stair #1

It's a suitably ironic commentary on the dismal state of so much South Florida architecture that the most striking piece of work around is this gloriously gratuitous bit of design from the world-renowned firm of Arquitectonica, which has offices in Miami. Built a decade ago, this marble-and-ceramic "stairway to nowhere" flies in the face of the notion that form should follow function in architecture. It's a flashy construction of geometric shapes fashioned from bright, shiny blue and red tiles and a checkerboard slab of gray marble, assembled with steps and railings to suggest a Jetsons-style confluence of the '50s and futurism. The overall effect is that of a sort of deranged el train station, and the punch line is that, once you ascend the stairs, there's nowhere to go -- the walkways extending from the stairs into the terminal lead to nonexistent train tracks. The structure is a piece of pure absurdist eye candy.

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