Monday, October 23, 2006

In the News

The following appeared in the on line version of Building Design - an United kingdom architectural magazine.

An international campaign to save a Florida school designed by Paul Rudolph is gathering pace on this side of the Atlantic following interventions from the Twentieth Century Society and Norman Foster.

By Ash Dosanjh

Foster, who alongside former partner Richard Rogers was tutored by Rudolph, has written to the school’s governors asking them to save the Riverview High School in Sarasota, completed in 1958 and a prime example of American modernist architecture.

He called Rudolph “the single most formative force in my life”. The Twentieth Century Society has also intervened in the American saga an unprecedented move prompted by the building’s unique worth.

“Despite its present state of disrepair, the underlying structure of this strikingly innovative building is sound. It could easily be restored to its original condition,” Foster’s letter said. “As even [a consultants report commissioned by the governors] has indicated, the ‘rehabilitation’ of the Rudolph buildings should be incorporated into the future of the Riverview site... Modern building technologies allows us now, more easily than ever, to adapt older structures to moderns use.”

The Save Riverview Group, which has been set up to fight for the building, has called for the rehabilitation of some of the Rudolph building structures, rather than the total restoration of all the buildings on the campus. It will soon be seeking the support of the RIBA. A complete rebuild would cost $135 million (£72 million), whereas restoration costs are estimated at just under $15 million (£8 million).

“I have been so upset about the state of the building,” said Carl Abbott, a founding member of the group and former schoolfellow of Foster’s.

“It’s been abandoned over the years and apparently maintenance has been withheld for at least a couple of years. But all these things can be rehabilitated. The structure of the building itself is in wonderful shape.”

The Sarasota School Board voted 5-0 earlier this year to demolish the building, which they believe fails on maintenance and safety grounds.

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