The Center

The Center is housed in the restored Scott Building on South Orange Avenue in downtown Sarasota. In 2014-15, Center for Architecture Sarasota restored the modernist aesthetic of the building so eloquently expressed by the architects of record, William Rupp and Joe Farrell, in 1960. The restoration transformed the Scott Building into a museum-quality gallery and a lecture hall with state-of-the-art presentation technologies, as well as studio and office space.

Located in downtown Sarasota, the Scott Building is a significant surviving example of commercial architecture that was completed during the period of time that has since become known as the Sarasota School of Architecture.

In 1959, Clarence Scott commissioned award-winning and nationally-recognized architects William Rupp and Joseph Farrell to design a commercial building that would serve as the new showroom for the Barkus Furniture Company. The building is a one-story commercial structure designed in the International Style with a flat roof and open floor plan featuring a precast concrete structural system with terrazzo floors and exposed masonry, supports and columns.

After the Barkus Furniture Company closed, the building was purchased by Sarasota County in 1999, which used it as a print shop.

Center for Architecture Sarasota began as a vision of Guy and Cynthia Peterson. Guy Peterson, FAIA is a well-known architect who has won many awards for his designs. In addition to his distinguished architectural career, he also served as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Florida School of Architecture. His wife, Cynthia, is a Certified Archivist and the former curator of the University of Florida Architectural Archives.

The building was looking tired (and ink stained) when the newly-founded Center for Architecture Sarasota approached the County in 2013 with an idea for making it into, among other things, headquarters for Center for Architecture Sarasota.

The county agreed and, with funding from major donor and architecture enthusiast Nathalie McCulloch, the renovation began. The renovated Scott Building opened as the McCulloch Pavilion in October 2015.

The McCulloch Pavilion received the American Institute of Architects Florida Chapter 2015 Honor Award for Historic Preservation/Restoration, their highest design award. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

The Architects

William Rupp & Joseph Farrell

William Rupp and Joseph Farrell began their careers together in the early 1950s as assistants to renowned architect Paul Rudolph. The two men worked with Rudolph during a period in which he created some of his most celebrated Florida structures, including the Hiss Umbrella House and the Walker Guest House. Both Rupp and Farrell received Bachelor’s degrees in Architecture from the University of Florida in the 1950s, and they commenced practice together as associated architects in 1959. Although their collaborative practice only lasted a little over two years, they earned national recognition and awards for projects such as the Uhr Residence-Studio in Sarasota and the Caladesi National Bank in Dunedin.

Joseph Farrell relocated to Hawaii in 1961, and spent most of his career there designing buildings in Hawaii and around the Pacific where he received numerous national and international awards. Farrell became a Principal at AHL in 1969. His projects received more than 40 design awards and honors, including the Governor of Hawaii’s Architectural Arts Award, which recognized architects who have produced projects that define “Hawaiian Architecture.” Joseph Farrell returned to Sarasota and is an active member of Center for Architecture Sarasota.

William Rupp continued to practice in Florida until 1967, completing projects such as the dining pavilion for the Ringling Museum of Art and multiple residences in Naples and Sarasota. In 1962, Life magazine included Rupp in its special issue: “The Takeover Generation – The 100 Most Outstanding Young Men and Women in the United States.” He moved his practice to New York and Massachusetts in the late 1960s and 1970s, and spent his last years teaching as a professor of art and architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The legacies of Farrell and Rupp as important masters in the Sarasota School of Architecture remain preserved in this building, one of the last remaining commercial or public projects in Sarasota designed by either of the architects.

The Renovation

The McCulloch Pavilion was sensitively preserved and brought to a higher and better use by the award-winning team of Guy Peterson ǀ Office for Architecture and builder Michael K. Walker and Associates, Inc., in consultation with Joseph Farrell.

Guy Peterson | Office for Architecture expertly preserved the building’s significant architectural heritage while adapting the building for the programmatic requirements of the Center and the UF CityLab Sarasota. Years of insensitive renovations and adaptations were removed to expose the simple and elegant structural details and open floor plan. The three separate rental units were combined as one large studio for the UF CityLab Sarasota program. The overhangs were painted a sky blue from the Le Corbusier color palette-an idea developed by Peterson to enhance the structure and for bird deterrence. The building now contains a gallery space, studio, lecture hall and office space for the organizations in the building.

Many others in the Sarasota community generously donated their time and services to complete the $1 million project and their names can be found here.