SarasotaMod Weekend Nov. 6 – 9

Umbrella House

The Umbrella House in Lido Shores, designed by architect Paul Rudolph in 1953. Photo by Bill Miller.

Sarasota High School

Sarasota High School designed by architect Paul Rudolph in 1958 and restored by the Sarasota School Board in 2015. Photo by Dan Snyder.

July 17, 2015
By Harold Bubil

It will be “all Paul, all the time” at the second SarasotaMOD, Sarasota Architectural Foundation’s celebration of midcentury modern architecture.

The focus of the Nov. 6-9 event is the architectural legacy of Paul Rudolph, who started his career here and designed such notable buildings as the Umbrella House, Riverview High School and an addition to Sarasota High School, all in the 1950s, before becoming dean of architecture at Yale University and expanding his influence globally.

Rudolph will be the subject of lectures, dinners, parties and tours on foot and by trolley.

Walker Guest House Replica

A replica of the 1952 Paul Rudolph designed Walker Guest House will be featured at SarasotaMOD Weekend. Illustration by John Pirman.

The highlight of the weekend is the opening of the Walker Guest House replica on the grounds of the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art. SAF, with the help of architect Joyce Owens of Fort Myers and builder-architect Joe King of Bradenton, has constructed a replica of Rudolph’s famous 1952 Sanibel Island beach cottage. It will be displayed for 11 months at The Ringling, and can be disassembled and shipped to other museums as an educational exhibit on midcentury living and design concepts.

Notable speakers include Los Angeles architect Larry Scarpa and Rudolph scholars and authors Joe King, Christopher Domin, Roberto de Alba and Timothy Rohan; the latter wrote a definitive book on Rudolph in 2014, “The Architecture of Paul Rudolph”. Also speaking is Erica Stoller, daughter of Ezra Stoller, whose large format, black- and- white photographs of Rudolph’s buildings in the 1950s brought both men worldwide acclaim.

SarasotaMOD_logo draftsC. Ford Peatross, founding director of the architectural archive at the Library of Congress, will moderate a panel discussion on Rudolph’s legacy. While the architect is known for his delicate beach houses on Lido and Siesta keys, he also was a leader in the use of raw concrete to monumental effect in public buildings,starting with Sarasota High, continuing with the Yale Art & Architecture building, and continuing in Southeast Asia with high rise residential buildings. This style is known as Brutalism.

Several houses designed by Rudolph will be open for dinners and cocktail parties. Walking tours of Lido Shores, where Rudolph drew a number of houses for developer Phil Hiss, will be conducted by Christopher Wilson, Architecture and Design History professor at Ringling College and SAF board member, and the Herald-Tribune’s Harold Bubil.

The event closes on Monday, Nov. 9, with a bus tour of St. Petersburg’s architectural highlights, led by Bubil. Other presenters include Sarasota architect Carl Abbott, Tampa architect and author of “The Sarasota School of Architecture” John Howey, architect Tim Seibert, Sean Khorsandi of the Paul Rudolph Foundation and Miami Herald architecture critic Alastair Gordon.

“It will be important to talk about architecture as an art form,” said King. “Rudolph’s work, as a leader in Sarasota modernism, is so strong that people will gain a good feeling of that. The cultural and historical context of Rudolph in Florida will help people, especially in Sarasota, know and understand more about the place they live, and that is always a good thing — to be engaged with the community.”

Tickets go on sale August 14 at


Rehab Update: Sarasota High School Photos 11-3-13

SAF is periodically documenting the ongoing rehabilitation progress with photos of the iconic Paul Rudolph‘s Sarasota High School classroom building #4. Harvard Jolly Architects and Tandem Construction has completed the asbestos abatement work and has thoroughly gutted the interior. The concrete shell including the dramatic sunscreens is still intact and the original roof profile has been restored.

More Info:

See 9-1-12 post regarding the Sarasota County School Board renovation plans and SAF’s recommendations for effective rehabilitation of Paul Rudolph’s Sarasota High School Addition.

SHS Renovation Project Metrics_Sept2013

SHS Plans_HarvardJolly_Nov2013

Sarasota High School campus plan by Harvard Jolly – Paul Rudolph’s classroom building top right.


Protect Rudolph Building

February 13, 2013, Letter to the Editor, Sarasota Herald TribuneSarasota High School SOS

They always say, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” The Sarasota School Board is about to prove this with its plans to demolish the common areas of the historic Paul Rudolph Addition at Sarasota High School. This will forever alter the iconic architect’s last remaining public building in Florida.

Responsible local governments all across the country are going out of their way to protect significantly historical homes, buildings and landmarks. Sarasota should be one of them.

Imagine visiting the Lincoln Memorial and finding it encased in a glass, air-conditioned box to make visitors more “comfortable.”

Imagine visiting the great cathedrals of Europe only to find inside modern track lighting and altars of gleaming stainless steel to make them more “relevant” to today’s worshipers.
Absurd, but similar to what is being proposed in Sarasota.
We bought a home on Siesta Key eight years ago because we loved the area’s beaches, cultural attractions and strong, modern architectural heritage.

Paul Rudolph is a founding figure in the field of modern architecture. His work began here and he’s recognized internationally.

As steward of this unique, historic structure, the School Board has the responsibility to honor the 2007 stipulation in which they agreed to appropriately rehabilitate the Rudolph Addition. Please, board members, direct your architects to redesign the common areas of Building No. 4 with proper respect for the entire structure.

History will prove you right.

Michael Bille
Lois Greenbaum
Siesta Key, FL
Link to Herald Tribune

Rudolph Addition a Plus

February 12, 2013, Letter to the Editor, Sarasota Herald TribuneSarasota High School SOS

In 2007 the Sarasota County School Board signed an agreement with the Sarasota community to “appropriately rehabilitate” the Rudolph Addition to Sarasota High School. The agreement was entered into with a clear understanding of what “appropriate rehabilitation” means.

Now, five years later, the School Board staff is telling the students and their families that the 21st century learning school they have been promised with the renovation of Sarasota High School campus cannot be done if the Rudolph Addition is appropriately rehabilitated.

This is the same complex of buildings it was in 2007, the same footprint, the same amount of square feet. Nothing has changed except the School Board’s commitment to the citizens of Sarasota.

What kind of example is the board setting for our young citizens by breaking its promise and throwing away a valuable opportunity?

The rehabilitation of the Rudolph Addition can draw world attention to the school’s exceptional learning programs as well as to its extraordinary architecture. Appropriate rehabilitation through preservation of the building’s unique architectural features can also magnify the impact of public funds.

Financial resources for the maintenance and future improvement of the building can be earned through additional use, outside the school schedule, for state, regional and national conferences, as well as visitor and tour use. It can and should be a showcase for 21st century learning and an extraordinary cultural attraction for Sarasota.

Deborah G. Dart
Member of the Board
Sarasota Architectural Foundation
Link to Herald Tribune

Plans Move Ahead for Paul Rudolph Buildings at Sarasota High School

Real Estate Today, Sarasota Herald Tribune
by Harold Bubil

So far, so good for “Option 5,” the Sarasota High School campus renovation plan that calls Paul Rudolph's Sarasota High School 1960for keeping and renovating both the Paul Rudolph-designed Building 4 and the gymnasium [Ed note: Building 5]. Option 5 was decided upon during a design charrette in June.

In July, the school board approved $30.5 million in its tentative capital fund budget for the enhanced project, $4 million more than estimated for an initial proposal that called for demolition of the gym and glassing-in of Building 4’s open-air entrance plaza, or “breezeway.”

The Sarasota County School Board and the County Commission heard a report from school board COO Scott Lempe this week. Lempe said Harvard Jolly Architects and Tandem Construction are working on the design, and that Building 4 has been vacated in preparation of renovation. Design is scheduled to be complete by late spring 2013. Lempe said the project will be done in several phases and is scheduled for completion in December 2015.

“This project is now well under way with the support of a broadly represented community,” said Lempe. That includes the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, which advocated for saving both Building 4 and the gymnasium, which will be repurposed as instructional space, replacing the isolated Building 42.

The SAF convened a committee of design professionals and today released a detailed report [Click to download report: SHS Rehab Aug2012] that recommends a “rehabilitation” of Building 4, including the removal of pipes and other items added over the years that created “visual clutter.” The emphasis is on restoring the original appearance of the building.

“We are confident the final product will address all our original concerns in a way that is acceptable to, and respectful of, all our stakeholders,” said Lempe.

Harold Bubil’s Herald Tribune article link

Photo © Ezra Stoller – ESTO, File no. 20V.027 RM

Sarasota High School on National Register of Historic Places

Paul Rudolph's Sarasota High School 1960

Paul Rudolph’s Sarasota High School Addition has been officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thanks to SAF Board Member Cindy Peterson, University of Florida professor Marty Hylton, Barbara Mattick and Carl Shiver of the Florida Department of Historical Resources who worked together to submit the building for the National Register of Historic Places and make this important recognition and honor a reality.

The restoration of the Classroom/Building #4 and the Gym/Building #5 is part of a 2012 campus renovation that is being considered by the Sarasota County School Board.

Rudolph, Paul, Sarasota High School Addition,
1000 School Ave., S.,
Sarasota, 12000365,
LISTED, 6/27/12
Click for more about the National Register of Historic Places

© Photograph by Ezra Stoller / Esto, 1960

SHS Charrette: Sarasota Community Engaged & United


This gallery contains 16 photos.

It took a village…the village of Sarasota…our students, teachers, parents, neighbors, architects and preservationists…brought honor, respect and democracy back to planning the future of Sarasota High School…and SARASOTA DID IT! The charrette was organized by the school district at the urging of … Continue reading