Posts tagged with "Ralph Twitchell":

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Sportswear brand J. McLaughlin highlights Sarasota Modernism in its spring catalog

The Modernist heritage of Sarasota, Florida, is the star of J. McLaughlin's recently-released 2019 spring catalog, thanks to a partnership with the nonprofit Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF).

Sporty spring sweaters, floral prints, nautical belt buckles, and more are juxtaposed against homes designed by Ralph Twitchell, a founding member of the Sarasota School of Architecture, and Paul Rudolph. The 1953 Paul Rudolph-designed Umbrella House, a blocky building shaded by a perforated canopy, and the swooping Cocoon House, a collaboration between Twitchell and Rudolph from 1950 with a unique U-shaped roof, features alongside other local landmarks.

Both buildings are important landmarks for the Sarasota School, which sought to blend Modernism with breezy beach vibes (and were appropriate for the temperate, humid climate). The Sarasota Architectural Foundation has been educating visitors on both during their annual Sarasota Modernism Weekend, which the group has run since 2013.

The J. McLaughlin–Sarasota confluence seemed like a natural one to the clothing brand’s co-founder and creative director Kevin McLaughlin. The company already has two stores in the area, one in Sarasota and one in Longboat Key, and McLaughlin is a frequent visitor to the small city. Additionally, local Sarasota artist John Pirman had previously been tapped to design prints for the brand.

"We're honored to have collaborated with J. McLaughlin to produce the new spring catalog," wrote SAF board chair Christopher Wilson. "By creating vital awareness of SAF, this fine American brand is helping further our mission to protect and preserve these iconic examples of the Sarasota School of Architecture."

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Sarasota architects hope to preserve Mid-Century Modernism in Florida

The style of architecture known as "mid-century modern" is a cousin to the "International style." A popular combination of European stylistic tendencies and domestic American influences, including furniture design, it has become an influential catch all term for distinguished post-World War II structures and commercial tract homes (like the Eichler Homes). While the style has become widely popular in lifestyle magazines like Dwell and even replicated in new suburban developments, the original homes are being regularly torn down and being replaced with bloated McMansions that have shoe closets the size of the former mid-century living rooms. But the style has a huge following and a number of organizations to highlight and preserve is monuments. Docomomo has been in the lead highlighting these structures and Palm Springs was one of the first city to host a "modernism week." The latest city to create a week of activities devoted to the style is Sarasota, Florida, which along with Palm Springs and New Canaan, Connecticut, were experimental centers of the style. The Florida city also had a gifted number of architects working in the style: Paul Rudolph and his early mentor Ralph Twitchell, Gene Leedy, Victor Lundy, Tim Seibert, and Carl Abbott. The four day event of lectures, city and house tours that took place this fall was a model of how a community can highlight its unique but disappearing history. The week was created the Sarasota Architectural Foundation (founded by Martie Lieberman, a realtor who specializes in the style of homes) which is trying to promote the city's modern architecture. It hopes to raise awareness of the style so its buildings can be preserved, updated, and even become a model of a future architecture that is more responsive to needs and demands than the typical McMansion. Sarasota prides itself on its modern history and was a unique crossroads of culture, commerce, and environment after World War II that helped birth this style. The week also highlighted the fascinating figure of Philip Hiss III who moved to the beach community in 1948 and became a major figure in the community. He was chair of its education department (which commissioned Paul Rudolph to design two high schools) and a developer of the modernist community Lido Shores. The Foundation is hoping to make their week an annual affair and the area has the modern assets to make it work.
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Iconic works by Paul Rudolph to be celebrated in Sarasota, Florida

In 1948, Paul Rudolph was residing at the American Academy in Rome. He had traveled there to study classical architecture, but was instead spending his days designing modern houses for Sarasota, Florida. In fact, Sarasota, according to Timothy Rohan who has recently published a monograph on Rudolph, made a huge impression on the architect and defined his work for the rest of his career. He had moved there to apprentice and work for the local architect Ralph Twitchell, who in the 1940s helped create a style of modern house that eventually became known as the Sarasota school. The sleepy seaside village had become like Palm Springs, California and New Canaan, Connecticut—a laboratory of modernism—because, as Rohan explains, its "cultured winter time residents were open to architectural experimentation in their second homes." From October 9–12, 2014, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, will be staging “SarasotaMOD Week[end],” a four-day celebration of the region’s iconic mid-20th-century architecture, particularly its oceanside houses and famous public schools. Leading architects, designers, historians, and authors like Carl Abbott, John Howey, Joe King (co-author of Paul Rudolph: The Florida Houses), Lawrence Scarpa, Tim Seibert, landscape architect Raymond Jungles, and author, critic, and filmmaker Alastair Gordon will explore the ongoing impact of this movement through presentations, panel discussions and tours. For more information and to register for the weekend, click here.