Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Preserving Architectural Crown Jewel

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Preserving Architectural Crown Jewel

Article excerpt

Dan Snyder is passionate about modern architecture. When he was a partner in an international public relations firm in Washington, D.C., he bought and restored a home built by I.M. Pei. Since retiring to Sarasota in 2004, he has lived in a midcentury modern house he also restored. As a member of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, he chairs the Paul Rudolph Legacy committee and is spearheading efforts to preserve the famous architect's 1958 addition to Sarasota High School. Correspondent Chris Angermann talked with Snyder about the campaign at his home on St. Armands Key.

Q:How did you get involved in the efforts to preserve Paul Rudolph's work?

A:At the annual SAF meeting, Carl Abbott, the renowned architect who studied under Rudolph at Yale, said, "We really need to take a look at Sarasota High School." He thought its existence was threatened.

We have a new board, so it meant starting from scratch to get up to speed quickly.

There are three buildings on School Avenue that comprise what I call the "Rudolph addition." There is the two-story classroom building, which is the most photographed because it is iconic. It consists of three different structures covered by one roof. Between the structures are open breezeways that allow air to come into the building and down the hallways. The other two buildings are the gym and a connecting structure that houses locker rooms.

Q:What are the issues involved?

A:There was such a fuss about the demolition of Riverview that the school board made a commitment: When it came time to renovate Sarasota High, it would be sensitive to what it would do regarding the Rudolph buildings there. But when it authorized the staff to take a look at the renovation, they did all the planning in-house. They did not hire a preservationist or architect as consultants.

They're committed to doing a lot of good things to the classroom building, including (restoring) the roof, for example. …

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