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Modern marvels display architectural history

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  • | 4:00 a.m. October 9, 2014
Joe Barth Insurance building, designed by architect Victor Lundy in 1957. Photo by Greg Wilson
Joe Barth Insurance building, designed by architect Victor Lundy in 1957. Photo by Greg Wilson
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In the past week or so, architect Lawrence Scarpa has traveled from Washington, D.C., and to his home in Venice, Calif., before taking off again to New York City and then landing this week in Sarasota. Although his schedule is tight, Scarpa made the trip here to be the keynote speaker for the Sarasota MOD Weekend. He describes the area as a “treasure trove” of mid-century modern architecture.

The four-day weekend of events kicks off Thursday with the Sarasota MOD opening reception at the Sarasota County Visitor Information Center and History Center, presented by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. SAF board member Dan Snyder estimates that the weekend is expected to draw more than 500 architectural enthusiasts from across the country for the inaugural event.

Scarpa, the recent recipient of the 2014 Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum Award, will give a presentation Friday on experiential transformations. Scarpa will discuss how growing up in Florida influenced his works as did working with mid-century pioneers Gene Leedy and the late Paul Rudolph.

One effect can be seen in Scarpa’s California home, which he dubbed the “Solar Umbrella” in reference to Rudolph’s Umbrella House in Lido Shores.

“Some of the most important buildings built in the late 1940s and 1950s are buildings in Sarasota,” Scarpa said. “Some of them have been demolished or severely altered.”

Sarasota MOD Weekend will host seven tours by foot, trolley and boat that will include stops at some of the area’s well-known structures.

The weekend will also see a total of nine presentations and panels with more than 20 distinguished architects, among them Leedy, John Howey, Edward “Tim” Seibert, Frank Folsom Smith and Carl Abbott.

Sarasota MOD Weekend

What: Four days of tours, presentations and parties to celebrate Sarasota’s mid-century modern architecture
When: Thursday, Oct. 9 through Sunday, Oct. 12
Where: Throughout Sarasota and one tour in Lakeland
Info: For more information visit



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