All things Siesta Key. Stories, news, and event information about Sarasota, Florida's beautiful beach.
Take a Tour of Sarasota’s Amazing Architecture
Sarasota doesn’t just have a great art scene, but a great architectural scene too. While in beautiful Sarasota, a great way to see the city and feel like you really know its history is through an architectural tour. From varying styles to famous architects, you’re bound to find a favorite or two. The staff at Best Western Siesta Key have a few tips for seeing some of Sarasota’s best architectural gems while you’re here.
Mid-Century to Modern Style
While the city was not planned all at once, many artists and architects have found reasons to place their work in Sarasota. The area, as a result, has become a hotbed for the arts and architecture refuses to be left out of the mix. The downtown area is ripe with mid-century design, while the Ringling Museum brings a Mediterranean flair to the city. Minimalist style connects with the tropical climate in the design of Sarasota High School’s campus. The Burns Court District and Gillespie Park herald the city’s history, while the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall provides a thematic tribute to the Gulf coast.
Nearby Indian Beach neighborhoods showcase Spanish Mediterranean Revival homes that have been preserved and updated for current residents, while the Basch Visual Arts Center at Ringling College of Art and Design features some of the most modern architecture in town. The Center for Asian Art on the Ringling Museum complex displays glazed terra cotta tiles that we see many architects using lately. The plethora of styles and periods represented in the Sarasota area is truly epic. Once you’ve experienced this kind of eclectic design, you’ll find it hard to resist this beautiful area.
Many designers have found a home for their work in the Sarasota area. Frank Lloyd Wright’s son-in-law William Wesley Peters designed the iconic Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, using colors from shells for the bright purple facade and a curvy shell-like design for the roof, paying homage to our coastal home. Victor Lundy created the pagoda-style buildings like our original Chamber of Commerce as well as the curved-roof structure of St. Paul Lutheran Church, which was designed when everyone else was focusing on boxy, rectangular forms.
Paul Rudolph installed several minimalist pieces in the Sarasota area in the 1950s, including Sarasota High School and his own Umbrella House. Jonathan Parks Architect brought us the Palm Avenue Parking Garage (yes, in Sarasota, even parking garages are works of art!) and the Mumford Pool House. The challenge of designing a functional building that fits the tropical climate and persona of a city like Sarasota has been met by many designers throughout the past century.
There are so many different styles to see in the area that tours have been created by the Center for Architecture Sarasota (CFAS). Every Thursday, the CFAS offers a trolley tour of the area’s best architecture, led by experts in the field. The center also houses exhibits related to architecture. Currently, the Frank Lloyd Wright: Architecture of the Interior Exhibit is on display until March 21. For a self-guided tour of Sarasota’s most historic buildings, download the app “GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities” from iTunes App Store or Google Play to your mobile phone or tablet. Hear about the various architects and styles that have found a home in Sarasota as you walk the city at your own pace.
The artistic landscape of Sarasota is as vast and varied as the city herself. With so many different styles and time periods represented, it’s easy to find a favorite while admiring others along the way. Learn more about the best ways to experience Sarasota’s architecture when you talk to the experts at Best Western Siesta Key. We’ll be glad to help you choose the perfect tour or area to visit while you’re here.