Bubil: Research, the joy of discovery


If you do research, either for a living or as a pastime, you know the thrill and satisfaction of discovery.

Architectural archivist Cindy Peterson of Sarasota, for whom research is an important part of her schedule, is sharing that excitement this month with “A Building a Day,” an online presentation of the Center for Architecture Sarasota. Each day during October, which CFAS celebrates as Architecture and Design Month, important buildings and structures throughout the state are featured at the website CFASrq.org/buildingaday.

This is the second year Peterson, who co-founded CFAS, has compiled the list and written the descriptions. The first week is devoted to local buildings. The middle of the month goes to local historical buildings and important structures around the state. The final week is local contemporary buildings, with a final, surprise offering on Halloween.

“They are not all buildings, but projects, structures and buildings that have significantly impacted our built environment in Florida,” said Peterson.

The month started off with the McCulloch Pavilion (1960, Bill Rupp and Joe Farrell, renovated 2015), which is the CFAS headquarters building on South Orange Avenue. It was the first building featured last year, too, when it was known as the Scott Building and was undergoing renovation.

“We won the highest preservation award (from AIA-Florida) for the building this year,” Peterson said, “and now the building is activated as an incredibly dynamic space. We felt we would like to celebrate that as our first building, as now it is real, as opposed to renderings.”

The Warm Mineral Springs motel was designed circa 1958 by Victor Lundy, a leading figure of the "Sarasota school" of midcentury modern architecture. Staff photo / Harold Bubil

The Warm Mineral Springs motel was designed circa 1958 by Victor Lundy, a leading figure of the "Sarasota school" of midcentury modern architecture. Staff photo / Harold Bubil

The other three buildings featured so far this month are Plymouth Harbor (1966, Frank Folsom Smith and Lou Schneider), the now-demolished Syd Solomon House (1970, Gene Leedy) and the Warm Mineral Springs motel (1958, Victor Lundy).

The beachfront Solomon House was built at the south end of Siesta Key more than 400 feet from the shoreline. But by 1983, beach erosion imperiled the structure, and the western section was in the water by the time it was demolished in the early 2000s after a long fight to save it.

Peterson said buildings on her list don’t have to be “still standing. A building that has been torn down can be an educational opportunity about lost heritage.”

Paul Rudolph’s Riverview High is another example. Is it on the list this year? Peterson says you will just have to go online every day this month to find out.

“When I am writing it, I become more educated about our architectural heritage in Florida,” Peterson said. “It is quite wonderful to learn something I didn’t know. New architects, new structures, new areas — I learn every time I do it.”

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 1, 2015
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