Why We Look The Way We Do: The March Conversation at the Crocker

A panel of architecture experts discusses residential and commercial design movements over the years that have resulted in Sarasota’s look. Is it good or not?

A panel of architecture experts convenes on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at The Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street to talk about how Sarasota came to look the way it does, in our Conversations at The Crocker event.

Florida Cracker, vernacular cottage, Mediterranean Revival, Sarasota School of Architecture are just some of the design styles that audience members will learn about when Harold Bubil moderates a lively panel with architects Carl Abbott, Frank Folsom Smith, Guy Peterson and Clifford Scholz.

“Sarasota has always had important and imposing homes,”  said Bubil, “starting with The Acacias, the Edson Keith Mansion, the Ringling Palaces, Crosley Mansion, and the big ranch homes of the 1950s and 60s. Then we have the highrises of downtown and the advent of the new Med Rev homes over the past 30 years, as well as the recent trend toward West Indies design. Our panel will discuss the aesthetic influences that came to shape our city.” Bubil is real estate editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper. A writer, editor, photographer and occasional tour guide, his beats include real estate, architecture, green building and local development history. He loves all good architecture but owns a 1930 frame-vernacular cottage.

Carl Abbott opened his Sarasota architecture office in the 1960s after studying at Yale under Paul Rudolph. He has created a number of important modernist houses and institutional buildings in Sarasota, including the Women’s Resource Center. His new book, IN/FORMED BY THE LAND is hot off the presses.

Frank Folsom Smith is a first-generation Sarasota school of architecture stalwart, and designed Sarasota’s most prominent landmark, Plymouth Harbor, with Louis Schneider. Smith rejuvenated Burns Court, designed The Terrace condominium a few years before that, developed Conrad Beach and has designed dozens of stately houses.

Guy Peterson, a second-generation Sarasota school modernist, made a name for himself as the design architect for Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Care Center. He has created many dramatic houses on the barrier islands and also teaches at the University of Florida School of Architecture.

Clifford Scholz‘s name has been synonymous with high-end home design in Sarasota for two decades. He is often hired by mansion developers to create stately homes with strong Mediterranean and Caribbean influences, interpreting the dream architecture of the 1920s boom for a 21st-century market.

This architecture event at the Crocker Memorial Church is the sixth in a series of year-long panel discussions organized and produced by the Historical Society of Sarasota County with support from SARASOTA Magazine. Conversations at The Crocker events highlight specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examine pivotal events and people who have influenced Sarasota today.

All Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds from this panel discussion series help to maintain the Historical Society’s two heritage properties at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events.

The final Conversations at The Crocker for the season is April 9, A City of the Performing Arts with moderator Howard Millman.

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3 thoughts on “Why We Look The Way We Do: The March Conversation at the Crocker”

  1. It was very interesting and educational. Always enjoyable. Herold was very good at keeping the panel on time and focus and even being intermediater to the audiences statements and questions that were a bit off focus, or the panels comments too. A job well done. Overall it was good .

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