Remodeler: Michael K. Walker & Associates, Sarasota, Fla.
Architect: Guy Peterson Office for Architecture, Sarasota
In a nutshell: Located in downtown Sarasota, the largely ignored building was being used by the county for printing projects. The structure is a significant surviving example of modernist architecture from a period when young talent was gravitating to the city.
Solutions: Constructed in 1960 by architects William Rupp and Joseph Farrell, pioneers of the Sarasota School of Architecture, the building was originally a furniture store. The iconic mid-century structure featured terrazzo floors and exposed masonry and columns. The roof was one of the first in the region to incorporate hollow-core concrete sections.
“We brought back the design as much as possible,” says Guy Peterson, the architect in charge of the revitalization. “William Rupp’s daughter even gave us the original plans.”
The project began when Peterson’s wife, Cynthia, who is an archivist, approached the county with an idea to reimagine the building as The Center for Architecture, Sarasota. Cynthia and others dreamed of a dedicated space devoted to the understanding of architecture. The center opened in 2015 and features an exhibition area, lecture hall, and satellite campus for the University of Florida’s architecture program. The to-the-studs remodel by cost more than $500,000, which was raised entirely through donations.
The bright monoliths (above) sit on wheels and are used to mount displays. The colors were taken directly from the palette of architectural legend Le Corbusier as an homage to his influence on modernism. Concrete was used for the flooring in areas where the original terrazzo couldn’t be restored.
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