I.M. Pei in Sarasota?!
Blessed with an abundance of natural beauty, Sarasota is also lucky to be home to diverse architecture like the wonderful John Ringling era 1920’s Mediterranean masterpieces, hundreds of mid-century modern ranch homes and the twenty-five+ year span (1940-1966)when” The Sarasota School of Architecture” soared.
During my 30 years as a Sarasota real estate agent, I have toured and/or sold many of the great homes and buildings designed by these local Sarasota School architects. Architect greats such as Paul Rudolph, Victor Lundy and Jack West were tremendous influences “in designing the structure to bring in nature” by using floor -to -ceiling windows and overhangs to provide shade.
In the mid-1960’s, internationally acclaimed, MIT/Harvard- educated archititect I.M.Pei was summoned to the area to enhance the New College campus. Although one of his most modest endeavors, Pei did respect the” Sarasota School “movement and designed one and two-story buildings around a Royal Palm filled courtyard.
Although, in need of some TLC, these buildings are still used today at New College as their freshman dorms and a recreational center . On Saturday, January 4th, along with other members of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, I was fortunate to tour the campus with esteemed architect, Carl Abbott , as he recalled his days in I.M. Pei’s Sarasota Office.
Why am I so impressed that I.M Pei has works in Sarasota. Well, he may be the most highly respected architect of our time designing such great buildings as The Louvre Pyramid in Paris, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, the JFK Library in Boston and the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar and the New College freshman dorms in Sarasota.