Bubil: Center for Architecture Sarasota debuts


Local architecture turns the page this weekend with the first events held by the Center for Architecture Sarasota.

Saturday night, CFAS held an invitation-only reception at the Spencer House, also known as the “Perforated House,” on Prospect Street at Orange Avenue in Sarasota.

colhbubil19Today, the fledgling organization has scheduled tours of the controversial house, designed by the Guy Peterson Office for Architecture. The tours sold out shortly after a story was published two weeks ago in the Herald-Tribune.

These events mark a maturation of Sarasota’s appreciation of its architectural heritage. Eleven years ago, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation was created in the wake of the American Legacy Tour and Symposium that was presented by the Fine Arts Society of Sarasota in November 2001. Now the CFAS joins the community.

What can it contribute to the local design scene that SAF hasn’t done already?

SAF has built a reputation in recent years for presenting tours of historic or remodeled midcentury modern — “Sarasota school of architecture” — buildings, and has a strong online presence.

Cynthia Peterson is a former SAF board member and a founding member and board chair of CFAS. “We will have a physical presence,” she said, “with the emphasis on education and looking forward at what architecture can be.”

The plan is for CFAS to offer community programs, lectures, exhibits, films and conferences.

Peterson said CFAS will foster public understanding of the role architecture has played, and will play, in the community. CFAS will seek to gather students, designers, community leaders and the public to “admire, discuss and debate” the built environment.

That physical presence is in a midcentury modern single-story office building on Orange Avenue in Sarasota. When renovated, it will house the CFAS office, along with exhibit space.

More importantly, CFAS will partner with the University of Florida’s architecture department to provide it with space for its CityLab-Sarasota, an academic program that will offer a master’s degree in architecture.

Tonight, CFAS concludes its opening weekend with a lecture series event from 5:30 to 7:30 featuring architect and planner Vishaan Chakrabarti, co-sponsored by the Downtown Sarasota Alliance.

Chakrabarti is the author of “A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America,”and will discuss how urban spaces can be made more sustainable for a changing and increasingly crowded planet.

That talk will be held at The Francis meeting space, 1289 N. Palm Ave., and is open to the public. Tickets are $15.


Harold Bubil

Recipient of the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the American Institute of Architects/Florida-Caribbean, Harold Bubil is real estate editor of the Herald-Tribune Media Group. Born in Newport, R.I., his family moved to Sarasota in 1958. Harold graduated from Sarasota High School in 1970 and the University of Florida in 1974 with a degree in journalism. For the Herald-Tribune, he writes and edits stories about residential real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He also is a photographer and public speaker. Contact him via email, or at (941) 361-4805.
Last modified: October 19, 2013
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