CFAS Opens To Public



The old is new again, or at least renewed. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Center For Architecture—Sarasota offered a first glimpse to the public of what many architects are calling one of the most important restorations of classic design in the region. 

The Orange Avenue building, once a furniture store but most recently the print shop for Sarasota County government, stands as one of the last commercial buildings designed during the Sarasota School of Architecture era. Joe Farrell, one of the original architects along with the late William Rupp, praised the work done by Guy Peterson Modern Architecture to restore and improve the structure. “It’s better than it was originally,” Farrell said. “They honored all the concepts and extended them here as well.”

And more improvements are still planned to the site. Officials have already added some features like a lecture hall and exhibit space in the former furniture showroom, and will improve the landscaping on the north and south sides of the building. Cynthia Peterson, CFAS board chair, said the project has brought many groups together as a community. “So many have come together, not just in design but our subcontractor friends,” she said. “Everyone is so committed to this being the best building in town.” 

Within months, the space will both serve as venue for design-centric events and home to University of Florida graduate-level architecture courses. This brings a big university to town that now has a presence here in Sarasota,” said retired county commissioner Joe Barbetta, who lobbied during his time in government to forge a partnership with UF and CFAS regarding the structure. Peterson said she was enthusiastic new architecture would come from a place so important to architectural history. “There will be a legacy with new students and their contributions,” she said.

Pictured: CFAS board member Jim Keaton and Nathalie McCulloch cut the ribbon at the Center For Archture Sarasota/University of Florida CityLab building on Orange Avenue. photo by Shane Donglasan/SRQ

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