BUBIL: On affordable housing and architects


Architects are known for designing upscale houses and cutting-edge commercial buildings, but they have an equally important role: building better communities.

Toward that end, the Center for Architecture Sarasota, as part of its “Archtober” series of events, presented a lecture by public-housing expert Michael Pyatok on Wednesday.

Pyatok, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, came here from Oakland, California, to discuss the design of sustainable and affordable housing — a constant challenge in Florida as the state becomes wealthier.

His talk was followed by a panel discussion featuring Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin, businessman Jesse Biter, New College Professor David Brain, Arts and Cultural Alliance executive director Jim Shirley and Andrew Georgiadis of the city’s Urban Design Studio.

“I wish we had had more time,” said Sandy Motto, a member of the CFAS board of directors.

Affordable housing is a big issue — one of those concepts that sounds simple but is so hard to solve. As downtowns revitalize and wealthy people move in (not a new phenomenon), luxury housing is built, land values go up and rents follow.

The working poor move out.

The CFAS does not claim to have a solution to the need for housing, close to workplaces, for which the rent or mortgage payment and transportation costs do not not exceed 50 percent of income, as is so often the case, noted Pyatok.

But at least CFAS can foster the conversation among experts, including architects, who can help find solutions.

“Our goal is to play a leadership role in creating an informed and engaged community,” said Motto, “that provides education and dialogue regarding the sustainability of the community, as it relates to the built environment.”


The recent story on Sarasota High School’s renovation (“Saving & Renovating,” Oct. 4, page 1-A), written by me, was accompanied by a fact box in which some facts were not correct:
• Building 5, the Paul Rudolph-designed gymnasium, is not being torn down. It is being renovated for use by the Junior ROTC program and art classes. A classroom wing is being demolished to make way for a new gym.
• Still standing is the covered walkway that links the Rudolph-designed buildings to the brick building occupied by Sarasota Museum of Art. The school district had planned to demolish it, but that issue is still being considered after protests by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.
• Building 4, the main Rudolph-designed building, will contain math and science classrooms and administrative offices.

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 11, 2014
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