photo: Mary Ann Sullivan
The Sarasota Architectural Foundation has issued a statement strongly criticizing the Sarasota County School District's plans to renovate Paul Rudolph's iconic 1958 addition to its high school. Their plans call for enclosing in glass Rudolph’s characteristic open-air passageways, designed for natural ventilation before the widespread use of air-conditioning, and demolishing the gymnasium and support spaces. The SAF also noted that Rudolph’s authorship of the gymnasium was omitted in Board Chief Operating Officer Scott Lempe’s presentation, misleading those voting on the scheme. It all bears an eerie reminder of the ill-fated Riverview High School, which was torn down in 2009 amid controversy. Its breezeways were also enclosed, eventually causing the mold that would lead to its demolition.
In April 2012, the Paul Rudolph Foundation wrote to the editors of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that the school also forms an important link between the rigorous houses of Rudolph’s early career to the more sculptural concrete work of the Sixties. Enclosing the breezeways would dramatically alter its design and potentially create the same problems that plagued Riverview. Hopefully the School Board will reconsider its plans.
This post was edited by the author on 2/21/2013.