Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Sarasota Architectural Foundation celebrates '60s-style local architecture

The sixth annual SarasotaMOD Weekend celebrates the second wave of ‘Sarasota School’ architecture in the 1960s.

  • Arts + Culture
  • Visual Art
  • Share

Remember the 1960s? The Sarasota Architectural Foundation does. Its sixth annual SarasotaMOD Weekend focuses on the second wave of “Sarasota School” architecture that crested in that decade. But to really understand the wave’s impact, you have to go to the decade before.

The first wave hit in the 1950s. Paul Rudolph, Ralph Twitchell and other Sarasota-based architects adapted mid-century modernist design principles to our region, fused different schools of thought and added a few innovations of their own. The “Sarasota School of Architecture” became the de facto label for their creations. Before 1967, their work had no label, but by the late 1950s, it was everywhere you looked.

It was a tough act to follow, but that didn’t stop the second wave of Sarasota School architects from making their mark. These included Carl Abbott, Joe Farrell, Frank Folsom Smith, Tim Seibert and Jack West. Some of their legacy is hiding in plain sight.

Architects Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph created the Cocoon House in 1950. Courtesy photo.
Architects Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph created the Cocoon House in 1950. Courtesy photo.

Call it a legacy of democratization: Their work didn’t simply change the game; it invited more people to play.

“The 1950s was a revolutionary period for area architecture,” says Christopher S. Wilson, SAF board chairman. “But that revolution was largely confined to the upper class. Most of the original Sarasota School structures were on the beach or near the water and had little impact on the lives of everyday people. Unless they subscribed to Architecture Magazine, they wouldn’t even see them.”

Wilson notes that the 1960s changed that. The second wave of the Sarasota School created more visibility and more accessibility. Buildings including Plymouth Harbor and Sarasota City Hall were plain to see across the city.

“These structures are a living legacy, not museum pieces,” Wilson says. “We still live and work in them. And they still have much to teach us today.”




Frank Folsom Smith: A 1960s Sarasota School Architect

This exhibit explores the principles of the architect behind Plymouth Harbor, The Terrace and other iconic area structures.

When: Nov. 8-10

Where: Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail

Tickets: Free

Info: Call 365-2032.


MOD Opening Party

When: 5:30-7:30 p.m. Nov. 8

Where: The Sarasota Modern, 1290 Boulevard of the Arts

Tickets: $50



Sarasota in the Sixties

Architects and historians will investigate the era that changed everything. Author Christopher Domin will moderate the discussion. Architect Frank Folsom Smith will deliver the keynote lecture. Breakfast included.

When: 8:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 9

Where: Holley Hall, 709 N. Tamiami Trail

Tickets: $50


Walking Tours

When: 1-4 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10

Tickets: $50 to $75


Sixties Celebration

This movable feast boasts cocktails and cuisine in two architectural treasures. The celebration begins in the courtyard of the 1926 Sarasota High School building and wraps up at Paul Rudolph’s mid-century modern auxiliary building from 1960.

Where: Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail

When: 6-9 p.m. Nov. 9

Tickets: $250



Yoga at the Umbrella House

A sun salutation led by Kris Galea of Yoga from the Heart.

When: 8-9:15 a.m. Nov. 10

Where: Umbrella House, 1300 Westway Drive

Tickets: $30


MOD Weekend Closing Party

When: 5-7 p.m. Nov. 10

Where: Plymouth Harbor, 700 John Ringling Blvd

Tickets: $100


Visit for complete schedules and information.


Related Articles