Letters from home: Class is in session


A lot of people at the Center for Architecture Sarasota are living the dream this week.

The group, barely two years old, will welcome the University of Florida’s CityLab program to its headquarters in the refurbished McCulloch Pavilion on South Orange Avenue with a scholarship presentation at 5:30 Wednesday. Open to the public, the event is sponsored by CFAS and the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

This partnership of UF and CFAS is the realization of a goal that was set when Cindy Peterson and others founded the center in 2013.

The inaugural class of seven students, seeking master’s degrees in architecture, will receive scholarships totaling $14,500. The donors are former county commissioner Joe Barbetta, benefactors Nathalie McCulloch and Mel and Gary Schmidt, builder Michael K. Walker, architect Guy Peterson and the local AIA chapter.

CityLab’s model is to teach students within an urban environment so they can gain skills and experience as they study.

“Sarasota offers unique opportunities for UF students to study architecture and urbanism in a culturally and environmentally sensitive coastal community that has stood at the forefront of design excellence for decades,” said Chris Silver, dean of UF’s School of Design, Construction and Planning.

Some of the students already are working in the field. The seven:

Gabriella Ebbesson, a native of Sweden, has been interning at Fawley Bryant Architects Interiors Planning.

Olivia Ellsworth, a recent Clemson graduate, is interning at Solstice Architects.

Elena Nonino, from Italy, will intern at Guy Peterson OFA.

Christopher Fadely and Dan Johnson, both UF graduates, are, like Ebbesson, Ellsworth and Nonino, first-year grad students.

Shane LeMay, a UF transfer and the only second-year grad student in the class, is an intern with Sweet Sparkman Architects.

Alan Meronek, a licensed architect employed by the Manatee County Building Department, is entering CityLab for a one-year master’s degree program. He wants to become qualified to teach architecture.

“These students will be the first of many who will study, live and work in the Sarasota community, immersing themselves in both speculative and real-world projects,” said Martin Gold, CityLab’s program director.


Regarding the Aug. 16 feature “Mobile Miracle,” on a renovated 1966 mobile home in Sarasota:

“Loved the article and pics, but you should have mentioned there are many mobile home parks where you do own your own land. We live in Lemon Bay Isles in Englewood, which is one of them. We have a very active community, with membership to the Edgewater Club. Homes sell from $70,000 to more than $200,000 for lakefront.”

-- Unsigned, Englewood

From a former classmate at Sarasota High, Class of 1970:

“I want to congratulate you on receiving the 2015 Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award. I have followed your real estate writings for many years from afar, but I did not fully appreciate your connectedness to architecture itself until I recently visited my sister (she still resides in Sarasota), who had set aside a series of your recent stories.

“After graduation, I went to the University of Florida and ultimately became an architect, moved to Miami Beach, and have practiced here for 30 years. The influence of Sarasota and its rich history of art, design and architecture have always remained close to my heart and serve as inspiration to much of what I do. And so it was with great fondness that I read of your passion for architecture, which obviously springs from many of the same experiences and places as mine does. ‘Thank you’ for all that you have done on behalf of the profession.”

William C. Taylor AIA, Miami Beach

Last modified: August 21, 2015
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