It was a good news/bad news day in Sarasota, Florida. A couple of dozen protesters stood outside the former Sarasota High School, where part of a concrete canopy designed by Paul Rudolph in 1960 was scheduled to be demolished. But just a few blocks away, officials had gathered to christen the new Center for Architecture Sarasota, one of a growing number of such institutions around the country, and one of the most propitious.
Sarasota has a rich architectural history; in the '50s and '60s it was one of the hotbeds (along with Palm Springs, California, and New Canaan, Connecticut) of modernist innovation. Rudolph, the leader of the so-called Sarasota School, moved north in 1957, but Ralph Twitchell, Victor Lundy, Tim Seibert, Jack West, Philip Hiss, Gene Leedy, Carl Abbott, and others carried on. “We weren’t a cohesive group. We didn’t know it was a school until much later,” says Joe Farrell, a Rudolph protégé who decamped to Honolulu in the early 1960s.