What Keeps Sarasota Architecture Vibrant


A rich architectural heritage which remains vibrant today has helped firmly install Sarasota among the celebrated U.S. destinations for searches of homes with superb architecture. This well-deserved prominence came to the fore anew recently as six local architectural works won in the 2015 Design Awards of the American Institute of Architects Florida/Caribbean. These accolades have been scheduled for presentation during the organization’s annual convention in Boca Raton in August of 2015.

Among those in the honors’ list is the Sustainable Design Merit Award for the Palm Avenue Parking Garage in downtown Sarasota, a design by Solstice Architects, formerly Jonathan Parks Architects. Professional tribute also goes to two works from Seibert Architects: the 1961 Rees-Schulaner Residence in Sandy Hook on Siesta Key for a “Test of Time” Merit Award, and the Tetreault-Pirman House in Sarasota for a Merit Award for New Work.

Guy Peterson Office for Architecture keeps the three other recognitions: a Merit Award for Masonry in Design for the Ferguson Alley House in Sarasota’s downtown, a Merit Award for Unbuilt Design for “the Treehouse,” and an Honor Award for Historic Preservation/Restoration for the McCulloch Pavilion in the Center for Architecture Sarasota (CFAS) on Orange Avenue in Sarasota.

Architectural hub opened

What Keeps Sarasota Architecture Vibrant

Notably, the non-profit CFAS was inaugurated in March 2015 and is dedicated towards fostering public support and understanding on architecture’s influence and value in enriching the Sarasota region. The Center has been designed as a venue where design professionals, community leaders, the public and students can admire, debate and discuss the region’s built environment. The center will also be home to the CityLab Sarasota, a Master’s degree program in the University of Florida’s School of Architecture.

Besides having an exhibit space, the center’s facilities include a design studio, classroom and lecture hall. To pursue its objectives in advancing education and public interest in design and architecture, CFAS is gearing itself up not only for lectures and exhibitions. It will also hold a program of tours, among other special events.

Vanguards for the movement

CFAS’s activities complement those of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF), an older nonprofit, volunteer group devoted to preserving the Sarasota School of Architecture (SSoA) dating back to the modernist movement of post-World War II. A group of architects in Sarasota in those days pursued the principles and tenets of mid-century modernist style to adapt their designs to the unique demands of Florida’s tropical environment. The architectural style they created helped transform Sarasota from a small town into a cosmopolitan cultural hub in the Suncoast.

Today, the groundbreaking movement’s impact has gone far outside the region of its origin. The SSoA’s growth in popularity can be attributed to SAF’s many activities which also immensely help in bringing market attention to Sarasota homes for sale built in the region’s distinctive architectural style.

The events that the foundation organizes include conferences, lecture series and film presentations. One of its most prominent activities in recent years is the SarasotaMOD, a three-day festival in celebration of Sarasota’s iconic architecture. Highlights of this event, which is slated to have its 2015 edition in November 6-8, include guided tours and presentations by prominent architects, designers, authors and critics, all disciples of the homegrown Sarasota School of Architecture which remains vibrant as ever.