Opening its doors to students for the first time this past September, the CityLab-Sarasota Master of Architecture program, a satellite program of the University of Florida Graduate School of Architecture, promised a singular form of architectural education invigorated and integrated with the built environment of downtown Sarasota and the ‘Sarasota School’ of architecture. Bringing together six graduate students from around the globe for an international inaugural class under the mentorship of program director Martin Gold and renowned architect Guy Peterson, the aspiring architects give their first impressions two months into the two-year program.  

Gabriella Ebbessom, Sweden.

OLIVIA ELLSWORTH, CLEMSON

Gabriella Ebbessom Undergrad: Sweden
“Just knowing that I was going to be one of the only six students here, and that with the design teachers we have here–Guy Peterson and Martin Gold– we’re going to learn a lot. It’s extremely different from having 65-80 people in one class. Here you really get to learn and have time with the teachers.” Ebbessom interned with Fawley-Bryant over the summer. 

Gabriella Ebbessom, Sweden.

SHANE LAMAY, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

Olivia Ellsworth Undergrad: Clemson
“When looking for grad schools, I wanted to be somewhere that had a lot of opportunities with other architects. And in graduate school you really want to start focusing on your professional area – working and making connections – and I felt like Sarasota was a great place to basically learn as much as I can. And just how passionate everybody is about having us here, how excited and how dedicated they are to making us have a good experience. Guy Peterson takes us on field trips and shows us Sarasota and the buildings, and it’s something that you wouldn’t experience somewhere else.” 

Gabriella Ebbessom, Sweden.

DANIEL JOHNSON, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA.

Shane LaMay Undergrad: University of Florida
“I always had an interest in Florida modern architecture and ended up coming here partly because I wanted to learn more, but also because I wanted to have the opportunity to intern while I was in school. This gave me the opportunity to do that. The work I’m doing here, I’m learning from; and I’m learning from the work I do at Sweet Sparkman. I’m able to work one into the other and combine them. We’re still trying to get off the ground - balance workload and school - but I’m starting to get into the groove. It’s really more of an intimate atmosphere because there are only six of us.” LaMay is interning with Sweet Sparkman Architects.

Gabriella Ebbessom, Sweden.

ELENA NONINO, VENICE ITALY.

Daniel Johnson  Undergrad: University of Florida
“As soon as I heard that the CityLab program was going to start, I decided to come here. It gave me an opportunity to further develop what I learned at UF, in my hometown. I really like the fact that we’re working on stuff in town, stuff that has to do with the community and trying to develop an architecture that fits with Sarasota.” Johnson is interning with Zoller Autrey Architects.

Elena Nonino Undergrad: Venice, Italy
“When I graduated, I was convinced this was the most exciting one. The fact that we are few, we have a one-to-one relationship with the professor, and so they can follow us better. And also the fact that it’s a city studio, not a campus studio, which is a completely different experience. You can actually experience the architecture when you’re in the city and not when you’re stuck on a campus. I hope it will allow me to have a stable job and be happy with my job. I hope to be able to express my creativity at work and be happy.” Nonino is interning with Guy Peterson Office of Architecture.

Christopher Fadely  Undergrad: University of Kentucky 
“This area is known worldwide for its architecture, the kind of architecture I’m interested in, and I’m submersing myself in the setting. I’m very impressed. The CityLab building is spectacular – done by Guy Peterson, the interior anyway - and we’re fortunate to have such good conditions. CityLab is elevating all six of us to a point that’s much higher than most people in graduate schools, because we work very closely with Guy Peterson, who is a world-famous architect, and with Martin Gold, the director of the program. That’s allowing us to develop.” Fadely is doing a local internship.