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Umbrella House nominated for national designation

The 1950s Lido Key home is a defining work of the Sarasota School of Architecture.

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  • | 6:00 a.m. July 12, 2018
The “umbrella” shade structure above the Umbrella House was re-created as part of a 2015 renovation to the property.
The “umbrella” shade structure above the Umbrella House was re-created as part of a 2015 renovation to the property.
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A local icon is in line for national recognition.

Backed by the state Bureau of Historic Preservation, the Umbrella House has been nominated for a slot on the National Register of Historic Places. The two-story home in Lido Shores, designed by Paul Rudolph and built in 1953, is frequently cited as one of the standout works from the midcentury Sarasota School of Architecture movement.

Although dozens of structures within the city are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, most of them date to previous waves of development in the early 1900s. The Umbrella House is set to become one of the few Sarasota School works on the National Register, joining the Rudolph-designed Sarasota High School addition and the Scott Building at 265 S. Orange Ave.

The Umbrella House already has a local historic designation, which offers incentives for rehabilitation and requires city review of proposed changes to the home. In 2015, the Umbrella House was renovated to re-create its namesake “umbrella” structure, designed to shade the residence.

City Planner Cliff Smith said the national designation was another way the property owners are attempting to secure the Umbrella House’s historic legacy. On Tuesday, the city’s Historic Preservation Board voted unanimously to endorse the application, which a national committee will consider in August.

Smith said the designation would add to the significance of an architectural movement in which the community has taken great pride.

“The Sarasota School of Architecture, that unique form of building that’s indigenous to the city of Sarasota — we’re very happy that’s reached national status,” Smith said.

On a local level, city staff is working to create more incentives for preserving historically significant structures. Staff also hopes to update an index of city buildings to include those built in the midcentury period during which the Sarasota School thrived.

“We’re looking to make significant advances in historic preservation,” Smith said.


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