Sarasota School of Architecture

Paul Rudolphe Walker Guest House
Replica of the Paul Rudolph Walker Guest House built on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art.

On my bike route to downtown Sarasota, I have the pleasure of seeing the new architecture that is popping up in the neighborhoods so I have taken some snapshots to share with you. As well, I have written a short synopsis on the architecture today in Sarasota ending with links to the architects who are creating incredibly beautiful and innovative structures. However, first a little of the past which explains now and the future.

Spring Creek Red Door House - Mark Sultana DSDG
Spring Creek Red Door House – Mark Sultana


Orange Avenue Spencer House - Guy Peterson
Orange Avenue Spencer HouseGuy Peterson

The Sarasota School of Architecture began in the mid 20th Century with a group of architects which included Edward Seibert, Victor Lundy, William Rupp, Jack West, Paul Rudolph and Ralph Twitchell who is considered to the “Father of Sarasota Modern”. They changed the way of architectural thinking in Sarasota by creating buildings that were sited and designed for the Floridian landscape and weather. Paul Rudolf, is the most prolific and best know of these architects. His Lido Shores’ Umbrella House (1953) has recently been loving restored.  And his Walker Guest House (1952) located on Sanibel Island was replicated this year on the grounds of the Ringling Museum of Art. The Sarasota School of Architecture legacy has been carried on into the 21st with a group of young architects including Guy Peterson and Mark Sultana to name just a couple who are designing residential and commercial buildings of note.

North Drive - Architect unknown
North Drive – Architect unknown


Orange Avenue Lotus House - Chris Leader Leader Design Studio
Orange Avenue Lotus HouseChrist Leader

There are two architectural organizations in Sarasota, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation SAF  which is actively involved in preservation and the Center for Architecture Sarasota CFAsrq which is promoting awareness of current architectural design and education with a gallery space and lab tied to the University of Florida.

McCulloch Pavilion on Orange Avenue - Home of the Center for Architecture Sarasota
McCulloch Pavilion on Orange AvenueHome of the Center for Architecture Sarasota


Hearld Tribune Building on Main Street - Arquitectonica of Miami
Herald Tribune Building on Main StreetArquitectonica of Miami

It is clear from the new abundance of quality designed residential and commercial buildings as well as two organizations working to promote the legacy of the Sarasota School of Modern Architecture, the movement is alive and thriving. However in the meantime, the more prevalent melange of architectural styles in Sarasota includes pastiche of either Venetian, Tuscan, Key West/Caribbean or Spanish Colonial. Dutch Colonial which is gaining favorably with builders. Craftsman has also become a popular style among the new mass housing developments. Coastal Contemporary is gaining some high-end followers with stonework incorporated into the design. What remains is a grab bag of monotonous styles including very dated 1980’s structures that I personally think should be refaced or torn down. There was just a boat load of ugly architecture that was thrown up in the late 1970’s into the 1980’s with very little consideration to location and long term usage. I am just happy to see the gems scattered throughout as I ride by on my bike.

Here is an incomplete but impressive list of architects creating contemporary architecture in Sarasota with their own personal nod to the original school of thought.



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