Bubil: For 10x10, check the speaker list


It must have been a dozen years ago that former Sarasota architect James Bowen started a program called “10 X 10,” in which 10 designers present 10 photographic slides, and have 30 seconds to discuss each image.

Those 10 images can be photographs of their own work, or of things that inspire them.

Sponsored by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the program is now run by Michael Halflants of the Halflants + Pichette design studio.

“The fast-paced event is intended to showcase and introduce a diverse group of leaders and creative minds,” said Halflants.

I was invited to participate in one of the first 10 X 10s, and was invited back in November 2013, but I had to cancel because I was in the hospital with pneumonia.

Halflants invited me back for last month’s 10 X 10 at the Mandeville Beer Garden.

I was to be joined, said the program, by “a painter, an author, SCOPE’s executive director, the director of the graduate school of architecture at USF, the top thesis student in the same program, a curator, a mixed-media artist and the chair of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, and our host.”

I should have paid attention to the phrase “SCOPE’s executive director.” That is none other than John McCarthy, who is known throughout the community as one of its most passionate and entertaining public speakers.

I would have begged to be moved to the next 10 X 10, because McCarthy was on his game. He presented slides that documented how he created, by hand, a multilevel doll house, inspired by midcentury modern architecture, for the display of his wife’s impressive collection of Barbie dolls.

The work was so detailed, so thoughtful, and his presentation so enthusiastic, that every married man in the audience who brought along his wife wished he had not.

I had to follow McCarthy’s deafening round of applause with my meager display of five local structures and five from elsewhere in the state that I find especially interesting, either for historical or architectural reasons.

Included were the local Spencer House and the new county beach pavilions, the Lincoln Road Parking Garage in Miami Beach, and the Donnelly House in Mount Dora. A slideshow of them is online at HeraldTribune.com/galleries.

The lesson for me, if I am invited back: Make sure McCarthy is not one of the presenters.

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: April 5, 2015
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