Your Observer: March 15

March 20th, 2018

Architecture tours highlight Sarasota gems

From the Mediterranean styles of the 1920s to the Sarasota School of Architecture’s midcentury modern structures, the city’s built environment is rich with history.

But on March 8, as he led a trolley tour highlighting gems of Sarasota architecture, Harold Bubil was first focused on the present.

After setting out from the Center for Architecture, Sarasota’s downtown home, the trolley drove through the Ringling College of Art and Design’s north Sarasota campus. This gave Bubil, the former Sarasota Herald-Tribune real estate editor, an opportunity to showcase two recent additions to the city’s architectural landscape.

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Visit Sarasota: February 1

March 12th, 2018

The Beauty of Buildings: Architecture Tours in Sarasota

If you become enamored of Sarasota during your first visit here, you’re not alone. “People tend to come to Sarasota and just fall in love with the whole picture, like a first date that went really well,” says Harold Bubil, who was the real estate editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for two decades. “But to get beyond that first date, you really need to get to know a person a little better. And I think understanding our architecture helps people know Sarasota better.”

Bubil helps foster an appreciation for Sarasota’s built environment during the new Thursday trolley tours he leads for Center for Architecture Sarasota. Upcoming outings take place March 8 and 22, April 5 and 26, and May 10 from 10 a.m. to noon, costing $45 per person ($35 for CFAS members).

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Herald Tribune: January 29

January 30th, 2018

Giving Newtown a voice — and listening to it

When architect, artist and city planner Germane Barnes moved to Opa-Locka in 2013, he knew he was facing an enormous challenge. The low-income and predominantly African-American Miami suburb had a reputation for two things: the unusual Moorish architecture favored by its founder, and a rate of violent crime — once ranked the worst in the country — so out of control city leaders had blocked entrances to the neighborhood with metal barriers to stem drug traffic.

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Herald Tribune: January 25, 2018

January 25th, 2018

HAROLD BUBIL: Uncommon uses for common items

Crushed aluminum cans, ping-pong balls, brooms and Dixie Cups don’t sound like building materials — unless you are familiar with the work of the prominent Los Angeles architecture firm Brooks + Scarpa.

Led by Larry Scarpa and Angela Brooks, the firm has established an international reputation by blending progressive architecture with fine art.

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Herald Tribune: October 1, 2017

October 3rd, 2017


By Harold Bubil
Real estate editor

Under new leadership, the Center for Architecture Sarasota will focus on “socially responsive” architecture for both its fourth annual Architecture and Design Month in October and the remainder of the exhibition season.

“Architecture and design is part of everything we do” as community residents, said Tammy Hauser, the nonprofit organization’s new executive director following the retirement of founder Cindy Peterson, Hon. AIA. “You can’t separate that.

“Buildings need to connect. We want to show that architecture is more about the experience than the buildings themselves,” Hauser added, “and how architecture can be responsive to social issues. It is not separate from how we live our lives and how it shapes our communities.

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Herald Tribune: April 23, 2017

April 23rd, 2017

Big honors for Peterson (Cindy) and Abbott

By Harold Bubil
Real estate editor

This is the time of year when the Sarasota area starts raking in its usual haul of architecture awards.Cindy Peterson and Carl Abbott got things rolling recently.

…Peterson, as if her 2016 honorary membership in the American Institute of Architects-Florida/Caribbean chapter were not enough, will go to Orlando next week to collect the same honor, except this time from the national AIA.

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Sarasota Magazine: February 10, 2017

February 15th, 2017

National Recognition for Center for Architecture Sarasota’s New Home

 The Scott Building at 265 S. Orange Ave.— originally designed in 1960 by Sarasota School of Architecture practitioners William Rupp and Joe Farrell and restored two years ago by Guy Peterson Office for Architecture and contractor Michael Walker through the efforts of the Center for Architecture Sarasota—has earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s one of just two local midcentury-era buildings to be placed on the prestigious National Register; the other is Sarasota High School, built in 1958-’60 and designed by Paul Rudolph.

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Dedication of Historic Designation of the Scott Building

February 14th, 2017

Center for Architecture Sarasota celebrates the designation of the 1960 Scott Building to the National Register of Historic Places.

Designation Plaque on Scott Building at Center for Architecture Sarasota
Photo by Dylan Cox, DJWC Photography

The Scott Building, renamed The McCulloch Pavilion after generous CFAS donor, Nathalie McCulloch, is a significant surviving example of commercial architecture that was completed during the period that has since become known as the Sarasota School of Architecture, or Sarasota Modern School. The structure was designed in 1960 by award-winning and nationally-recognized architects, William Rupp and Joseph Farrell. The repurpose and preservation was achieved in 2014 through a partnership that was formed between CFAS, Sarasota County, and the UF Graduate School of Architecture to bring to reality the Scott Building as a center for community engagement on the importance of the built environment.

The renovation was completed by the Guy Peterson Office for Architecture, and builder, Michael K. Walker and Associates. The McCulloch Pavilion received the American Institute of Architects Honor Award for Historic Preservation in 2015.

Photo by Dylan Cox, DJWC Photography

Architect Joe Farrell with Cynthia Peterson
Photo by Dylan Cox, DJWC Photography

The Scott Building, renamed The McCulloch Pavilion
Photo by Dylan Cox, DJWC Photography


SNN: October 15, 2016

October 15th, 2016

Celebrating design and architecture in Sarasota


All month long, the Center for Architecture Sarasota is celebrating design and architecture on the Suncoast. They’re offering special events for the community.

The Center will host world-renowned architect Marlon Blackwell on October 27th. Blackwell will speak on how architecture can happen anywhere.

The Center is also doing a series of historic walking tours around downtown Sarasota on October 29th, focusing on downtown architecture.

And of course the center is revealing new exhibits. The current exhibit by students of University of Florida envisions Sarasota’s new cultural Bayfront.

Center for Architecture Sarasota’s Cynthia Peterson says the center focuses on the architectural heritage, the design world and what the future will bring.


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Observer: October 12, 2016

October 12th, 2016

CityLab Sarasota students design a new future for the bayfront


The Center for Architecture Sarasota exhibit showcases visions for a bayfront cultural district.

Swedish transplant Gabriella Ebbesson is sick of Floridians’ love affair with air conditioning.

However, as an architecture student with a knack for melding earth, water and sky in her designs for a bayfront symphony hall, she might have found a way to get locals outside their climate-controlled safety nets.

Ebbesson is one of six students from the The University of Florida School of Architecture CityLab Sarasota program who were challenged to reimagine the Sarasota bayfront. Starting in January, the students in the Advanced Graduate Architectural Design II course spent the semester researching the 42-acre plot, designing a master plan and creating models for a new symphony hall for the Sarasota Orchestra. This spring, the students presented their ideas to CityLab faculty members and members of the community group Bayfront 20:20.

Now, the sketches and models created for the project are on display through Nov. 30, at the Chapell Gallery in the the Center for Architecture Sarasota, which doubles as the students’ classroom and studio.

Ebbesson says she and her classmates saw the project as an opportunity to get locals outside to experience the natural beauty that’s hidden from view as they drive down U.S. Highway 41.

Martin Gold, CityLab Sarasota’s program director, says it’s a way for students to learn about civic design and idea presentation. He hopes exhibit-goers will see the designs as a means of connecting the community in a space that’s accessible to all.

?There’s an opportunity here to preserve this in a way that everyone who lives here, no matter how wealthy you are, can access this site in a meaningful way,? Gold says.

The area along Sarasota Bay, bordered by 10th Street to the north, North Tamiami Trail to the east, Boulevard of the Arts to the south and the bay to the west, contains key cultural hubs, including Art Center Sarasota, Municipal Auditorium and the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. They’re all sites that local art aficionados value deeply.

The challenge was redesigning the bayfront in a way that maintains the integrity of these spaces while addressing the future of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Gold says.

Sandy Timpson Motto, the vice chair of the board for the Center for Architecture Sarasota, says everyone in town seems to either ?love or hate? the Van Wezel, which has been one of the most recognizable sites along the bay since it was built in 1968. Its unique shell-inspired exterior as well as its 1,741-seat interior, which Gold says is not big enough to host the high-caliber shows that it tries to attract, presented students with an interesting trial.

During the first month of the project, the students split into teams of two to offer proposals. The result is three master plans designed to either retain, repurpose or replace the hall.

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