Celebrating Sarasota's architecture


When a national architectural conference came to Sarasota in spring 2013, a charrette was held at Ringling College of Art & Design to discuss whether the successful Palm Springs Modernism Week should be duplicated here.

The reasoning was that Sarasota is as well known for its collection of midcentury modern architecture as is Palm Springs, California. Thousands of people go there for home tours, lectures, parties and other events each February. The 2015 event — Palm Springs’ 10th — starts Feb. 12.

In Sarasota, the charrette participants were overwhelmingly in favor of the idea, and the Sarasota Architectural Foundation has picked it up with vigor.

The first Sarasota MOD Weekend — SAF is starting small — will be held Oct. 9-12, which, coincidentally, is the same weekend that Palm Springs will hold its Modernism Week Fall Preview.

Award-winning architect Lawrence Scarpa is the headliner for the Sarasota event. He will give the keynote address from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, at Ringling College’s Academic Auditorium.

Scarpa’s topic is “Experiential Transformations,” discussing how the life of a building is dependent on the lives of the people who use it. The architect will “investigate the experiential context of creating, enjoying and preserving great structures, and why experience is the most important building block of all,” according to the SAF.

Scarpa’s presentation will be followed by a dinner at Cá d’Zan, which certainly is not a midcentury modern mansion (it was built by John Ringling in 1925), but is our best-known structure.

Sarasota MOD Weekend has two dozen events, ranging from dinners and lectures to tours of architectural landmarks from trolley buses, on foot and even aboard a boat.

Presenters include historians Christopher Wilson and Jeff LaHurd; architects John Howey, Carl Abbott, Sam Holladay, Michael Epstein, Joe King, Joyce Owens and Tim Seibert; landscape architect Raymond Jungles; University of Florida Prof. Marty Hylton; New York Times contributor and architectural author Alastair Gordon; and interior designer Pam Holladay.

Your real estate editor also is presenting a few events, including the boat tour, a Lido Shores walking tour and a trolley tour of his “top 10” local buildings — as many as can be seen in two hours, that is. He’ll also be interrupting LaHurd as they discuss Sarasota’s development history.

Dan Webre and Sean Khorsandi, co-directors of the Paul Rudolph Foundation, will discuss that legendary architect’s contributions to local design.

Ticket information is online at sarasotamod.com.

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 2, 2014
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