Letter From Home: Big night for the Petersons, and Sarasota architecture

30 Jul 2016 2:57 PM | AIA Gulfcoast (Administrator)

Letter From Home: Big night for the Petersons, and Sarasota architecture

By Harold Bubil , Herald-Tribune

/ Saturday, July 30, 2016

Guy Peterson’s big night at the American Institute of Architects’ Florida-Caribbean convention last weekend in Palm Beach came equipped with a surprise.

The 2016 AIA Florida Gold Medal winner knew about it. All he had to do was keep the secret.

From his wife. Which he did.

“It’s kind of scary, isn’t it?” said Cindy Peterson, a certified archivist and founder of the Center for Architecture Sarasota (CFAS). “Whoa!”

Sarasota's Cindy Peterson receives her Honorary AIA membership from Martin Diaz-Yabor, left, the 2016 AIA Florida president and AIA Florida past-president Andrew M. Hayes during the AIA Florida-Caribbean convention July 23 in Palm Beach. Staff photo / Harold Bubil

You know how well wives like their husbands to keep secrets. But this one was different. She was about to be presented with a rare honor — that of honorary membership in the AIA.

When AIA Florida’s president, Martin Diaz-Yabor, started the program by listing the accomplishments of an unnamed person, Cindy Peterson started to get the idea.

“When I heard the words ‘archival work’ and then ‘CFAS,’ I realized, ‘Oh, my gosh, I know that person!’

Moments later, she was on stage, receiving the award.

“The award was in recognition of my longtime archival work, promoting the profession,” she said. “I had no idea. We have been going to the AIA conferences for 38 years and I have never seen anyone conferred with this status at any of them, so it was really nice.”

Honorary AIA membership is unusual. Past winners include Bob Graham, the former Florida governor and U.S. senator, who is known as a champion of good architecture. The Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award is named for him. Cindy Peterson won that in 2013.

"We estimate that fewer than a dozen honorary memberships have been awarded in AIA Florida's history, dating back to 1912," said Vicki Long, the chapter’s executive vice president. She is one of those recipients.

“I am so pleased to have it conferred on me in light of the work of the Center for Architecture and preserving the architectural heritage of Florida,” Cindy Peterson said.

“I hope to contribute to the AIA ... but I don’t think I have to pay dues. And I don’t have to worry about CEUs,” she said with a laugh. “There are lots of ways to participate and I hope to do that.”

Best night: Sarasota architects who won AIA Florida design and/or honor awards. Staff photo / Harold Bubil

Also receiving awards were eight Sarasota architecture firms for design work, and Sarasota’s Ryan Gamma was named Photographer of the Year. Martin Gold, director of UF's CityLab Sarasota, won the McMinn Award as an outstanding architectural educator.

At the end of the program, Guy Peterson accepted the Gold Medal with a gracious speech.

All of this got me to thinking that with eight design awards and four honor awards, this was the best night in the history of Sarasota architecture.


Lectures by architects Carl Abbott and John Howey are on the SAF’s August calendar, while Guy Peterson will be the guest of honor at a panel and reception presented by the Herald-Tribune.

On Thursday, Aug. 4, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation will present a lecture titled “Maya to Modern: The Architecture of Carl Abbott” from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Ringling College’s Academic Center Auditorium, 2699 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota.

Howey, author of “The Sarasota School of Architecture: 1941-1966,” will speak from 5:30 to 7:30 Friday, Aug. 5, at the Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery, 1288 N. Palm Avenue, Sarasota. His topic is “Summer Abstractions” as an exhibit opens on the abstract works of artists John Chamberlain, Syd Solomon, Richard Roblin, Josette Urso, Sonia Smith, David Shapiro, Helen Shulman and John Henry.

Abbott will discuss his emphasis on designing “with the land.” He recently toured ruins in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize and Angkor Wat, Cambodia, and for years has studied design both ancient and modern. His own designs are guided in ways similar to those of ancient designers, whose architecture was in harmony with the natural environment.

A reception and book signing of Abbott’s book, “In/Formed by the Land,” will follow the presentation.

Reservations for both events can be made online at www.saf-srq.org.

On Tuesday, Aug. 16, architect Guy Peterson, who received the 37th Gold Medal from the Florida-Caribbean chapter of the American Institute of Architects on July 23, will be the guest of honor at a reception and panel discussion presented by the Herald-Tribune from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, in our Community Room at 1741 Main St., Sarasota.

The panel discussion will feature winners of AIA Florida design awards this year, including Carl Abbott, Jerry Sparkman, Greg Hall, Jonathan Parks, Michael Halflants and John Pichette, Sam Holladay, Pam Holladay and Michael Epstein and Peterson.

The event is open to the public and admission is free. Refreshments will be served. Seating is limited; call 361-4065 for reservations.


AIA Florida Gulf Coast Chapter | P.O. Box 160 | Sarasota | FL | 34230 | info@aiagulfcoast.org | 941.315.8242

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