SRQ's Inaugural Modern Home Symposium

Architecture

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY MAR 11, 2016

Lovers of architecture gathered in the SRQ Studios for the inaugural Modern Home Symposium, with some of the region’s top builders and architects discussing the process of bringing contemporary visions to life in this coastal community. The featured guests told SRQ before the event that the night was a chance to discuss the craft they love among people who appreciated the results. “We have a community of great architects and a community that actually supports great architecture,” said Jonathan Parks of Solstice Architects. “That allows people to practice their art, and ultimately the community does revere it as an art. If you practice in part of the world that doesn’t encourage, or which even can discourage, what you do, it’s very hard to go home every night, put your head on a pillow and sleep soundly.”

Mark Sultana of DSDG said he was pleased to work with clients that wish to push the bounds of modern architecture toward the future. Asked to describe his own creative philosophy, Sultana explained: “it definitely sets itself apart from ‘white box modern.’ It’s warmer and more family-friendly. It’s not having spaces that are completely useless, which is what happens a lot in modern architecture. It is about designing a space that has to be able to be used, and is not just for show.”

Javier Suarez of Apex-Studio Suarez said Southwest Florida fosters the craft, thanks in part to a history of legendary work by masters like Paul Rudolph and Victor Lundy, but also because people coming here have a cultural appreciation and a level of affluence that allows for creative design. But it remains, he said, a constant endeavor to educate the public on the value of custom architecture. “Our services as professionals are worth the time and effort,” he said. “We bring to the table financial value, but also in producing iconic buildings. There is an economic value in that as well, but also an aesthetic value in hopefully enhancing the quality of life and beauty of a community.”

Nick Ferguson of NC Ferguson Construction has built homes in this region for 12 years, and for the last five or six years has built more modern structures. “It’s great that people have an open mind to modern architecture here,” he said. "You can find all types of architecture, and people are more willing to explore in those styles. It’s really cool to have the opportunity to work in a community where you have that.”

Steve Murray of Murray Homes enjoys working with architects creating modern work, and he said the demand exists in a big way for that type of structure in this region. “People do come here and see modern as a more prevalent form of architecture here than anywhere else, possibly more prevalent than in all of Florida,” he said. “I love being able to work in that style.”

Pictured: Steve Murray, Javier Suarez, SRQ's Wes Roberts, Mark Sultana, Nick Ferguson and Jonathan Parks. Photo by Mary Darby Guidroz.

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