Monday, March 19, 2007



“Site Specific: The History of Regional Modernism,” a documentary prepared by Susan Szenasy and Metropolis magazine, will have a free preview screening at the Sarasota Film Society’s Burns Court Cinemas Saturday, March 24, at 10 a.m.

The film, which includes an examination of the significance of Paul Rudolph’s world-famous Riverview High School, will be shown in conjunction with a discussion sponsored by the Save Riverview Committee, AIA Florida and the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.

In view of the recent charrette conducted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation about the feasibility of rehabilitation and re-use of the iconic Rudolph structures in the new Riverview campus now under consideration, the generous offer of Metropolis magazine to make the film available in advance of Susan Szenasy’s fall lecture tour of the United States is key to this important airing of the issues of historic preservation, community history and education.

Greg Hall AIA will moderate the discussion, which will include comments by Mollie Cardamone, former City Commissioner and one of the first teachers to work in the Rudolph buildings when they were opened in 1958. Other speakers include local architect and President of AIA Florida Mark Smith AIA, as well as Les Fishman, president of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.

The event, which begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 24, has been made possible by the generous gesture of the Sarasota Film Society in making their theatre on Burns Court, just off South Pineapple Avenue in downtown Sarasota available. Free parking can be found at the city lot opposite the Dolphin center on South Orange Avenue.

For more information, call: Carl Abbott, FAIA, Architect and Planner PA, 941-351-5016.

Friday, March 16, 2007

New Metropolis Film To Be Shown in Sarasota

To all members of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation and Other Interested Parties, Metropolis Magazine, in conjunction with the Committee to Save Riverview is presenting a twenty minute documentary.

Here are the details:

Title: Site Specific.

This is a film about Regional Modernist Architecture.

It features Riverview High School as a case study.

Saturday, March 24, 2007 at 10:00 A.M.

Burns Court Theater, Burns Court, Sarasota.
Free Admission

Following the showing there will be a presentation and discussion led by Greg Hall. There will be other architects, preservationists and representatives from various organizations participating.

We urge you to attend and support The Committee to Save Riverview.

Les Fishman,
SAF Chairman

Thursday, March 08, 2007

National Trust Charrette Process

From the Pelican Press:

Riverview High charrette to be held March 16-18

Question remains whether sessions will be private

A brainstorming process that may determine the fate of the historic Paul Rudolph buildings at Riverview High School in Sarasota has been set for March 16-18, the Pelican Press has learned.

The biggest question remaining in the planning is whether the "charrette," to be held under the auspices of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will be open to the public, local architects Greg Hall and Mark Smith said.

However, Smith and Scott Lempe, acting associate superintendent of the Sarasota County Schools, said they felt the process would have to be open because of Florida's Sunshine laws.

"Frankly, I don't think that there is any way we can talk about spending $135 million of the taxpayers' money and not have that meeting open to the public," Lempe said, referring to the estimated cost of the new Riverview High School, which is scheduled to open in August 2009.

Hall said John Hildreth, director of the National Trust's southern office, located in Charleston, S.C., preferred the charrette be private.

In Florida, Hall said, people are used to a public issue being discussed in open session. "On the other hand, it can have the unwanted effect of politicizing the process." "[The National Trust has] found that it's easier and quicker and more direct if they just have the workshop participants in the room," Smith said.

Nonetheless, Smith has e-mailed Hildreth his concerns. If the charrette is held behind closed doors, Smith noted, Hildreth has said the conclusions will be announced in a public forum. Hildreth did not return calls.

The charrette is scheduled to begin about noon on March 16 and conclude about noon on March 18, according to Lempe. It probably will be held at the school district offices in The Landings on South Tamiami Trail, he added.

The Save Riverview committee has been advocating for the preservation of the Rudolph buildings in spite of a school board vote in June 2006 to tear down the structures in preparation for the new school. During their Feb. 6 regular meeting, the school board members agreed to the charrette. However, they were firm that they would not allow the process to delay construction.

In a Feb. 20 interview, Lempe said he had contacted Hildreth the previous week to begin the planning for the charrette. He had asked Hildreth to contact the Vancouver, British Columbia, architectural firm of Busby Perkins + Will to provide an architect to lead the sessions, as agreed to by the Save Riverview committee. Perkins + Will, Lempe said, "is recognized nationally as a leader in education design." The Sarasota firm of BMK Architects worked in partnership with Perkins + Will on the new Riverview design.

On Monday, the Save Riverview committee was working to finalize who would represent it during the charrette. Hall said he would be participating, along with Smith, the current president of the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects. Hall was not certain whether Smith would have to be counted as one of the three Save Riverview people or whether he could participate as a fourth in his AIA capacity.

Lempe said last week that he had asked the Save Riverview committee to limit its representation to three people. "Committees tend to be ineffective if they get too big," he said.

Asked whether he was optimistic the charrette could produce a workable proposal for saving the Rudolph buildings, Hall said, "It is our hope [the conclusions] will carry some weight" with the school board. "I'm happy with the way it's all come together," Smith said. "I think it's an honor for Sarasota" to have the National Trust involved in the process, he added. "It reinforces what we have been talking about as a committee and as architects" regarding the value of the Rudolph buildings as examples of the internationally known Sarasota School of Architecture.

The charrette will provide the "thorough evaluation [that] should be given" to those structures, Smith said. Moreover, "it's never too late if you save history."

In the News - The Hits Keep On Coming

Time Magazine's on line version has a story about the demolition of Paul Rudolph buildings. Included is a reference to Riverview High School here in Sarasota:

And Riverview High School in Sarasota, Fla., the city where Rudolph started his career in the 1940 and '50s, is now in danger of being sacrificed for a parking lot.

Check the entire story at this link. There is also a reference to the NY Times article about the same issue a couple days ago.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Update: National Trust Moderated Review of Riverview High School

From the Sarasota School Administration (Mar 1, 2007):


This e-mail is intended to give you an update on where we are regarding a session with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to talk about Riverview High School.

The National Trust has been in contact with Perkins & Will (at the mutual agreement of the parties) and they have agreed to facilitate this process. The National Trust has identified a window of opportunity for us to hold this session, beginning around noon on Friday, March 16, 2007 and planning to be complete by noon on Sunday, March 18, 2007.

I hate to ask anyone to give up a part of a weekend but this may be the only way to make this happen in a timely fashion. I think we need to make sure our group is large enough to get the work done and small enough to be functional and efficient.

I've recommended to the National Trust the list below. For those of you on the list, please let me know if you think you can participate in this two-day session. Details will follow--at this point I'm just looking at the calendar... I don't know that we will have an opportunity for "alternate dates."

District Team
Scott Lempe Assoc Supt, Business
Darrell McClain BMK Representative
Linda Nook Principal

Community Reps
Cathy Layton Community member
Marion Almy Community member

Save Riverview Team
Greg Hall plus 2 (at your discretion but I do think we need to keep it small)

Staff Support
Lamar Matthews Counsel to the School Board
John Neel Project Manager

Thanks!!! More to follow as the date nears...

ScottScott J. LempeActing Associate Superintendent
Business Support Services