SAF and School Board Team Up to Preserve Rudolph Canopy Walkway at Sarasota High

01 May 2017 9:00 AM | AIA Gulfcoast (Administrator)

SAF and School Board Team Up to
Preserve Rudolph Canopy Walkway
at Sarasota High

SHS Rudolph Canopy Walkway

The 1960 Paul Rudolph-designed Building 4 at Sarasota High School, renovated and reopened in fall 2015, includes a canopy walkway to the left of the front steps. The iconic building faces Bahia Vista Street and is the focal point of the reconfigured entrance to the school. Photo by Anton Grassl, Esto.  

SARASOTA, April 27, 2017 – The Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) and the School Board of Sarasota County have reached agreement on a plan that retains and restores a significant section of the Paul Rudolph-designed canopy walkway at Sarasota High School. The agreement was formalized at the School Board’s regular meeting on April 18, with SAF board members attending.
Rudolph was the most prominent member of the midcentury regional architecture movement known as the Sarasota School of Architecture. He designed dozens of private homes and institutional buildings in Sarasota, including the iconic Umbrella and Cocoon houses, and the 1960 addition to Sarasota High School.
The canopy walkway is located south of the Sarasota High football stadium and west of the school’s Rudolph-designed Building 4. The plan calls for renovation of approximately 235 linear feet of the geometrically complex concrete structure, including removal of pipes and conduits, patching, waterproofing and painting. Sections of the canopy were taken down in 2015 and 2016 to facilitate renovations of both the Sarasota Museum of Art (SMOA) building and the Rudolph-designed gymnasium.
“It was a pleasure to be part of the effort to save and rehabilitate the Rudolph canopy walkway in partnership with the Sarasota County School Board. This has been a year-long collaboration with a win-win result for all parties,” said SAF Board Member Dr. Michael Kalman. “Like the 2015 accord we reached with Ringling College of Art + Design to preserve the canopy section next to SMOA, this new agreement with the School Board is great news for fans of Paul Rudolph’s work. The canopy walkway links the Rudolph buildings on the Sarasota High campus with the historic 1927 building that is being transformed into the art museum. Education and art in all its forms — including architecture — will be celebrated and showcased at this center of creativity and learning. We’re pleased that SAF is playing a key role in this ongoing community success story.”  
Dr. Kalman and Sarasota Magazine Founder Emeritus Dan Denton each donated $15,000 to the $34,000 project budget, with the remainder coming from SAF’s preservation fund. Following completion of the restoration, SAF will install a plaque on one of the canopy pillars, explaining the architectural significance of the covered walkway.
“This agreement is a great example of a community initiative,” said Sarasota County Schools Assistant Superintendent/Chief Operating Officer Scott Lempe. “The plan for the canopy walkway at Sarasota High, developed by SAF and district staff, follows a successful effort five years ago to get suggestions from citizens about improvements and additions to the campus.”
The 2012 collaboration among SAF, the School Board, Harvard Jolly Architecture, Jonathan Parks of Solstice Planning & Architecture and the Sarasota community resulted in the establishment of guidelines for the renovation of the campus’s Building 4. The canopy restoration will be part of the final phase of the SHS renovations scheduled to be completed in July 2017. When finished, the Sarasota High campus enhancements are projected to cost approximately $42 million.
“SAF, our dedicated membership and modern architecture enthusiasts around the world will take great pride in the outcome of the Paul Rudolph canopy preservation project. We look forward to a formal dedication later this year, and are excited about the prospect of seeing the structure much as it would have appeared almost 60 years ago.” said Janet Minker, Sarasota Architectural Foundation Board Chair
The dedication ceremony details will be announced this summer.

A large section of the Paul Rudolph-designed canopy walkway on the west campus of Sarasota High School, installed in the 1960s, will be restored following an agreement reached by the Sarasota County School Board and the Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF). Photo by Elliott Himelfarb, SAF.

The Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF), a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the Sarasota School of Architecture movement, helping to preserve and rehabilitate its irreplaceable buildings, and demonstrating its relevance to the contemporary built environment. A copy of our official registration and financial information #SC-1050 may be obtained from the Florida Division of Consumer Services by calling Toll-Free 800-435-7352 within the state. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by the state. FEIN 04-3699738.

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