Historians peg the 1950s and 1960s as Sarasota's architectural heyday because of the acclaimed Sarasota School of Architecture. The 1920s-era Florida Boom days also qualify as architecturally significant.
In the 20+ years that I have lived in Sarasota & Her Islands, I have seen a new dynamic develop that celebrates modernity in architecture.
A day after renowned architect Edward J. “Tim” Seibert spoke at The Ringling’s Historic Asolo Theater, the Sarasota County Commission reviewed plans for renovating his 1959 Siesta Beach Pavilion.
Author and architect John Howey included Seibert’s pavilion in his essential reference book titled The Sarasota School of Architecture: 1941-1966 and includes a 1962 photo of the structure.
The August 1963 issue of Architectural Record published an article about the design pointing out the way Seibert employed low-maintenance materials such as reinforced concrete and concrete block. The article also examined the construction techniques and the way that the architect protected the structure against storms.
Ten years ago, Gil Waters drove a vintage car over the brand-new John Ringling Causeway Bridge. The longtime advocate for the fixed-span bridge joined a parade for the August 31, 2003 grand opening that replaced the 1958 drawbridge and transformed the old bridge into a fishing pier.
Sarasota erupted into controversy at the thought of replacing the drawbridge. I remember locals complaining that they wouldn’t be able to see Sarasota Bay from the new span. It took a decade to wade through the discussions and legal challenges to the idea of a 65-foot-high bridge.
No doubt similar arguments arose about replacing the 1926 bridge which also connected the mainland with St Armand Key. After all, the Circus magnate John Ringling invested $1 million
The Ringling offers an opportunity to hear and see Tim Seibert recount his memories of life in the creative world of the Sarasota School of Architects. Maureen Zaremba, curator of educational programs, will interview Seibert on stage at the Historic Asolo Theater at 10:30am Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Museum Members and Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) members admitted Free, General Public/Free with Museum admission, all others $5. Since The Ringling event is ticketed, I recommend calling 941.360.7399 for reservations. Afterward attend a book-signing reception. There are a few places available for the SAF-sponsored luncheon with Seibert at Treviso Restaurant (Advance online payment only: $25 per person).
Opening reception for IN / FORMED BY THE LAND - The Architecture of Carl Abbott, a retrospective of models and photographs by well known local architect, Carl Abbott, a student of Paul Rudolph at Yale University who has gone on to earn fame for his own architectural designs. 5-7pm Friday, June 29, 2012. FREE Admission. Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design, 2700 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, Florida 34234 USA. Info: 941.359.7563