Victor Lundy didn't achieve the same fame as his Sarasota School of Architecture compatriot (and Harvard classmate) Paul Rudolph, but in his nine years in Sarasota (1951-1960), he designed some of its most innovative and beautiful buildings—among them the swoopy-roofed St. Paul's Lutheran Church on Bahia Vista Street, the glass-walled South Gate Community Center on Phillippi Creek and the geometric-roofed Warm Mineral Springs Motel in North Port, shown here.
“He had a different design sense [from Rudolph and fellow pioneer Ralph Twitchell] in terms of the way his buildings worked, but he was just as important," says Janet Minker, executive director of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation, which produces MOD Weekend. "He doesn’t get enough credit with his career, but in the last five years or so more attention has been paid to his work, which went way beyond Sarasota."
A 2013 Smithsonian article on the occasion of his 90th birthday says he is "admired as much for his sculptural sense of form as for his innovative use of engineering technology." (Lundy in the mid-1960s had been commissioned to create a series of "shade structures" for the terrace of the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.)
The now 94-year-old Lundy, who lives outside of Houston, Texas, has been invited to MOD Weekend, but it's unknown at this point whether he will attend. Minker says that, when he last visited Sarasota for a symposium in 2009, he wasn't pleased with the way some of his buildings have been altered. "He’s a little disappointed with Sarasota and how it’s treated his buildings," she says.
Beyond his architectural practice, Lundy is a prolific painter and drawer, and MOD Weekend will open with an exhibit of his artwork at the Blue Pagoda Building on North Tamiami Trail—with its glass walls and bold blue-tiled roof it is perhaps his most visible local work—and at the adjacent Art Center Sarasota.
The documentary Sculptor of Space: The Architecture of Victor Lundy also will be screened, along with an introduction and Q&A with its producer, Joan Brierton. In addition, there will be docent-led trolley tours that will drive by other Lundy buildings, lectures and a panel presentation, along with tours of Rudolph's Umbrella House and other significant Sarasota School of Architecture residences in Lido Shores and several pop-up parties.
Minker says that the past two MOD Weekends have drawn participants from as far away as London and France.
Starting Aug. 15, a complete list of MOD Weekend events will be posted at sarasotamod.com.