Truce on Canopies Until Further Deliberation



A set of canopies connecting the Sarasota Museum of Art with the Paul Rudolph-designed Sarasota High School will stand for now, as area architects and officials from Ringling College of Art and Design research the history of the structures.

Ringling College President Larry Thompson met Friday morning with architect Carl Abbott of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation and with David Sessions of Willis A. Smith Construction, the firm conducting construction and renovation of the original Sarasota High School building. The historic building predates the adjacent Rudolph-designed expansion, where high school operations happen today. The original building was leased to the college for the opening of the modern art museum.

The canopies have proven a controversial structure. The structures, which connect the historic and Rudolph-designed campus, were set for partial demolition last week, but the plan was put on hold amid complaints from the Sarasota Architectural Foundation. Abbott, who studied under the legendary Rudolph at Yale and later saw plans for the high school, said the canopies were essential as a bridge between the classic and modern parts of the high school campus. The college, however, suggested last week that the structures in question were not Rudolph originals, and had been added at a later date. Now, all parties are working to find common ground and demolition is on hold.

“Dr. Thompson is optimistic that there may be a solution that satisfies the needs of SMOA and the interests of the SAF and its members,” reads a statement from Ringling College. “Although there is no definitive agreement at this time, discussion is ongoing and a decision will be made early next week following further research and deliberation.”

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