CFAS focuses on landscape architecture


kileyLandscape architect Ron Sill will lecture on the restoration of downtown Tampa’s NCNB Plaza at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Center for Architecture Sarasota’s McCulloch Pavilion, 265 S. Orange Ave., Sarasota.

It is the first of three programs on landscape architecture that CFAS has on its March calendar.

The lecture, “Tampa’s Kiley Garden: A Secret Success,” is presented in conjunction with “The Landscape Architecture Legacy of Dan Kiley,” an exhibit on view until March 15 in the Don Chapell Gallery.

The Center for Architecture Sarasota is the only Florida location for the exhibit and the last location before it travels to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Kiley designed the 3.5-acre public park with architect Harry Wolf as part of Wolf’s NCNB bank building, also known as “the beer can building,” in 1988. The park, on the east bank of the Hillsborough River, was designed with a complex grid of hardscape, including concrete walkways, pavers, fountains, runnels and squares of grass. Shade was provided by palm trees and hundreds of crape myrtles.

Too much shade, as it turned out. According to a 2004 article in Landscape Architecture magazine, as the trees grew, the resulting canopy, although providing a cool respite from the heat of downtown, blocked the sunlight. This killed the grass and reduced the appeal of the park. The hardscape also deteriorated significantly.

Adequate maintenance, performed by the bank building’s management but monitored and paid for in part by the city, might have helped, but the municipal park required too much maintenance, according to Virginia Tech’s George Hazelrigg, who wrote the article in Landscape Architecture.

It also was built atop a parking garage with only four feet of soil. As the trees grew, the load on the parking garage’s ceiling increased and leaks developed.

By the early 2000s, the park was a mess. Mayor Pam Iorio ordered the trees cut down, giving it the appearance of a battlefield. In 2010, the park was renovated to a manicured, if treeless, state, and it is this process that Sill, of Reynolds, Smith & Hill, will discuss. Sill led the renovation effort.

On Wednesday, March 9, Kona Gray from EDSA will speak about Kiley’s influences on his work and his current work. EDSA is an international and renowned design firm started by Edward Durrell Stone’s son, Edward Durrell Stone Jr. Edward Durrell Stone was the architect of the Florida Capitol and the original MOMA among other modern works.

On Sunday, March 13, CFAS will host a tour of Aquadisia, which has landscape architecture by David Young. The house is currently listed at $18 million by Kim and Michael Ogilvie of Michael Saunders & Co.

The Kiley exhibit is a traveling photographic retrospective of Kiley (1912–2004), one of the nation’s most important postwar landscape architects. His career spanned more than half a century, and he is considered by many to be one of the most distinguished and influential landscape architects of the 20th century.

The first to introduce modernism to the profession, Kiley designed more than 1,000 projects worldwide. The exhibit includes 45 photographs and documents representing 27 of Kiley’s most significant designs, often done with the great architects of his time, including Eero Saarinen, Louis Kahn and I.M. Pei.

The gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

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: March 4, 2016
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