The Ness House
7647 Sanderling Road, Sarasota, Florida 34242 USA
The John Lambie “Lamolithic” House built in 1959 became The Ness House when renowned architect Tim Siebert performed the first remodel in 1971. Since then, this historic residence at The Sanderling Club on Siesta Key has been updated twice more. Read more about The Ness House and about Lamolithic construction.
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In 1959 when John Lambie originally created what became known as The Ness House for its original owners, Philip and Anne Ness, he showcased his innovative Lamolithic construction technology. He built steel forms on the site and essentially poured in the concrete house and then removed the molds. The result was a concrete slab with concrete walls and a concrete roof supported by steel columns. Read more about “What’s Lamolithic” (below).
About 10 years after building the house, the owners engaged Tim Siebert to effect the first remodel. The architect added a lacy concrete filigree as a surround for the house. Siebert described The Ness House as a tear down before his 1971 remodel, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
Later owners, Martha and Richard Althoff, reworked the interior applying arches and marble but left the exterior true to the Siebert design.
In 2008 along came Gabrielle and Dagan McCann, who rescued this example of Sarasota School of Architecture modernity. Once they stabilized the structure, they proceeded to restore its Mid-century Modern cred to a high-market masterpiece. In 2009, Sarasota County listed The Ness House on its Register of Historic Places.
The Ness House stands close by The Sanderling Beach Club and its cabanas designed by renowned architect Paul Rudolph. Speculation is that had The Ness House stood on the beach side of the road, it might have been destroyed in favor of a McMansion. Instead, its fate was to be purchased by people who preserved and modernized this historic residence.
"Progress photo of 'Lambie Houses' on Siesta Key near Sarasota, Florida." on Siesta Key near Sarasota, Florida." photographed January 22, 1948 by Joseph Janney Steinmetz courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/246243
When Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater made the cover of Time magazine in 1938, Sarasota architects took notice, especially when the president of nearby Florida Southern College commissioned Wright to design a exposed poured-concrete buildings for the campus.
Sarasota School of Architecture leaders Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph collaborated with John Lambie to create a metal form system to develop poured-concrete walls and decks. Lambie dubbed the technology “lamolithic.” His company, Lamolithic Industries, built reusable steel forms and a concrete mixer.
The Lamolithic construction method showed that architects and builders could apply industrial materials to residential uses. The thinking was that poured-concrete buildings would resist the hazards that plagued Florida housing: termites, moisture and even hurricanes. Lamolithic concrete technology promised low maintenance fireproof materials as well as more open designs and larger glassed areas.
"View showing construction progress of 'Lambie Houses' on Siesta Key near Sarasota, Florida." photographed January 22, 1948 by Joseph Janney Steinmetz courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://www.floridamemory.com/items/show/246244
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