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Architect and awning maker bring beauty to busy Florida street

Exteriors, Features | May 1, 2011 | By:

Cleaning up a fish shack, an architect and awning maker reel in the catch of the week

A major thoroughfare that links the Everglades to the west and the Atlantic Ocean on the east, Oakland Park Boulevard is one of Fort Lauderdale’s busiest streets. Sections of the six-lane strip are full of quick food and low-cost diners that represent every style of cooking that has ever been invented, an accretion that has taken years, and perhaps an equally unique collection of architectural styles from every historical period. One style that could not be found anywhere else is the rehabbed Diner 24, an inviting and colorful eatery that online restaurant reviewers have found to deliver better than standard fare, starting with the street façade.

Originally known as CC’s Fish Camp—a kitchy fish-and-chips shack complete with fish nets and floats draped around windows, oars and life buoys mounted on the walls and, in case you didn’t get the subtlety, an oversized fish hung from a rigging arm mounted above the entrance.

Architect Stephen Griss Associates, working closely with Hoover Canvas Products Co., awning fabricators, cleaned up the front and added bright color to attract customers. Without removing the standing seam metal roof, Griss chose to add 10 box-shaped awnings (one over each of the six windows facing the street and two windows on each side near the front) that transform the building’s look at relatively little cost.

Constructing the same box form for the 10 windows, however, proved more complex than expected. A dearth of anchoring points, Florida’s High Velocity Hurricane Zone building codes and the precise forms of the repeated fabric boxes challenged Hoover Canvas. “From a production standpoint,” says James Carroll, MFC, president of Hoover, “the roofline was irregular and contained varying angles. Each window location had to be measured with a different production ticket to keep the same distance between the awning and the roofline.” Hoover met the challenge and garnered an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2010 from IFAI’s annual Achievement Awards program.

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