Sarasota MOD Weekend is underway


Sarasota MOD Weekend is underway at The Francis in downtown Sarasota.

In a joint presentation, Jeff LaHurd survived repeated interruptions by this writer and delivered a comprehensive history of early Sarasota development, while this writer added information about noted prewar architects and the postwar development boom.

John Howey is interviewed by Christine Madrid French. Staff photo / Harold Bubil.

John Howey is interviewed by Christine Madrid French. Staff photo / Harold Bubil.

Architect John Howey was interviewed by Christine Madrid French, an expert in the preservation of modern architecture, about both his landmark 1995 book, "The Sarasota School of Architecture," and the state of preservation.

He offered these recollections of the "Sarasota School" of midcentury modernism and the architects who formed it.

"The architects got along, but wanted to be known for doing their own thing. "Gene Leedy was the gregarious one and kept them all together.  Some of them often had lunch at the Plaza Restaurant.

"At times they got along and were a gregarious group, but at other times they were very competitive.

"They were not surprised when Rudolph left" to become dean of architecture at Harvard.

"Bert Brosmith stayed behind (to run Rudolph's office and finish construction of Sarasota High's addition) and was very harried, really stressed out, keeping things going. Always on the phone. I don't know how he did it. These were small offices; Tim Seibert's was the largest, maybe 15 people."

Howey said, "Victor Lundy was the lone wolf. He was very guarded at first when I first spoke with him in Houston (for an interview in preparation for the book). But he opened up, and boy, did I listen! He opened up about his war experiences and how he won the Purple Heart. Of all my interviews for the book, Victor Lundy was the most interesting.

"Mark Hampton also won a Purple Heart and survived a bullet to the helmet, which usually was a death sentence in WWII. He was the Cary Grant of the group, very handsome."

And the Sarasota School? "They were all inspired by Mies and Gropius and others, and were all tied together because they were doing it in the same way in the same time and place."

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 10, 2014
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