Architecture buffs have a new excuse to troll Lido Shores and scope out historical houses. The Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau, together with the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, has published a map and guided tour book featuring Sarasota’s most unique and historical buildings.
The 56-page guidebook and street map, titled “Tour Sarasota Architecture,” is divided into four geographic areas: north of Fruitville Road, Lido Shores, south of Webber Street and downtown Sarasota.
Featuring 70 new and old buildings dating back to John Ringling’s Cà d’Zan mansion, the guidebook also includes recent designs from contemporary architects such as Phil Skirball, whose 2008 Sterling Park office building was inspired by Paul Rudolph’s famous Milam residence, in Jacksonville.
Designed by Stephanie Rule, a senior graphic-and-interactive-communications student at Ringling College of Art and Design, “Tour Sarasota Architecture” warrants at least a two-hour driving tour.
Sarasota’s new self-driving architecture tour was the brainchild of modern-architecture fanatic Larry Reinebach, a retired mechanical engineer from Chicago.
Reinebach, a Sarasota Architectural Foundation board member, was so inspired after taking a self-driving architecture tour in Columbus, Ind., that he set out to plot a similar course in Sarasota.
“I purchased a $3 map at the visitors center,” says Reinebach, who lives in a 1950s beach home on Lido Shores. “Columbus is known as a mecca for modern architecture, but the whole time I was on the tour I was thinking, “Gee wiz, Sarasota is every bit the city Columbus is and more. We should be able to offer this in our community.’”
Last January, Reinebach pitched the idea to his fellow foundation board members. He began working with Lorrie Muldowney, a historic-preservation specialist at the Sarasota County History Center, and got the financial backing from the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The team hired local architecture photographer Greg Wilson and collaborated with Ringling’s Design Center.
The resulting booklet, says Reinebach, is no throwaway pamphlet.
“It’s definitely something to keep in your book collection,” Reinebach says.
The tour includes a mix of residential, commercial and government buildings by architects such as Paul Rudolph, Ralph Twitchell, Jack West, Gene Leedy, Carl Abbott and Guy Peterson. According to Reinebach, 15 of the buildings were constructed during the 1920s land boom; 15 are contemporary designs; and 40 belong to the popular post-war-era Sarasota School of Architecture.
The visitors bureau has yet to price the booklet. It turned out so well, board members feel the projected $5 price tag is too low.
“It really makes an impression,” Reinebach says. “A $5 copy would sell like hotcakes.”
POINTS OF INTEREST
Lu Andrews House No. 3: 1695 Lowe Drive, North Sarasota, designed by Ralph Twitchell, 1959
The Pagoda Building (former Sarasota Chamber of Commerce): 655 North Tamiami Trail, by Victor Lundy, 1956
Hiss Studio: 1310 Westway Drive, Lido Shores, by Edward Seibert, 1953
Don Chapell Home: 150 Morningside Drive, by Don Chapell, 2000.
Sarasota City Hall: 1565 First St., downtown Sarasota, by Jack West, 1966
Downtown office building: 25 South Osprey Ave., downtown Sarasota, designed by Victor Lundy, 1957
Sterling Office Park: 2900 Bee Ridge Road, Sarasota, by Phil Skirball, 2008
Lamolithic Houses: 5528, 5540, 5544 and 5546 Avenida del Mare, Siesta Key, designed by Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph, 1948