Robert C. Broward
1926 - 2015
Inducted in 2012
Robert Broward's 61 years of architectural practice in Florida have produced a legacy of nationally recognized architecture. As a teacher and mentor, he inspired the careers of two generations of noted architects. His consistent dedication to learning, absorbing, and developing the principles applied throughout his life's work began in 1949 at the age of 21 with his apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin, midway through his architectural training at Georgia Tech.
His work always reflected a reverence and respect for Nature. It was guided by a total understanding of locale, methods of building and materials used, site conditions, orientation to the sun, direction of prevailing winds, frequency and intensity of storms, rain, snow, and other natural phenomena. As an example, Broward often designed innovative ways to collect rainwater and create spilling effects as a decorative and sonic element that celebrated the frequent event of rainstorms in Florida.
His final designs always resulted from a thorough understanding of a client's desires and resources. He always sought personal information to assist in reaching the successful, creative, and cost-conscious design.
A hallmark of his work has been that of involving other artists in the completion of his vision. Broward has frequently commissioned local painters, sculptors, and mixed-media artists to include their works as artistic focal points in his building designs.
Broward had a broad spectrum of clients of all income and life experiences, from a sharecroppers' chapel in West Georgia at the age of 23 to multi-million dollar oceanfront residences and corporate headquarters for Southeast Toyota. His diversity of designs included small houses and chapels, large warehouses and office buildings, churches, art museums, movie theatres, and large high-rises. His design solution for a North Carolina country club incorporated two charming but outdated 1920s buildings, adding a contemporary connecting central tower and ultimately transforming the entire facility into a cohesive, modern, and creative destination that has been extremely successful.
Broward taught in academia, as well as in his office/studio from 1958 through 2000. He was Adjunct Professor of Design at the University of Florida for over four decades, attending many juries, exhibiting his work, and giving numerous lectures.
As a scholar, he published a first and second edition on the life and work of Henry John Klutho, The Prairie School in Jacksonville. Broward's work has been published in numerous magazines, hard-cover books, and newspapers. An entire issue of a national architectural journal was devoted to his life's work. He wrote many essays on architecture for periodicals and newspapers. His latest book was a widely acclaimed volume published by the Jacksonville Historical Society, The Broward Family from France to Florida: 1764 to 2011.
He was at the forefront of Jacksonville's historic preservation movement, as a longtime advocate of conserving Duval County's landmark buildings. He personally guided the restoration of numerous nationally significant historic buildings and served on Jacksonville's Historical Landmarks Commission. He was consistently been involved in community work, resulting in better civic architecture and a city enhanced by creative planning.
Broward received over 40 merit and honor awards both locally and nationally, including three "Test of Time" awards. In 2012 he was selected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architecture, his profession's highest status.
His architectural philosophy is summarized in this 1992 quote in a national architectural journal: "The most sensual, sensitive and sensible buildings are those whose designers have been deeply affected by a love affair with life and who have loved and respected Nature in all its myriad states."