Mod Moment

SarasotaMOD Weekend Celebrates 'Sarasota in the Sixties'

“The story of Sarasota architecture in the ’60s is that it went from the high architecture of Paul Rudolph, Tim Seibert and Victor Lundy and filtered down to the everyday person."

By Ilene Denton October 30, 2019 Published in the November 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine

A Southgate home.

Image: Courtesy Photo 

After dedicating its first five Sarasota MOD Weekends to starchitects of the ’50s who formed what became known as the Sarasota School of Architecture, the Sarasota Architectural Foundation is turning the focus of its sixth festival Nov. 8-10 to what, and who, came next. 

“The story of Sarasota architecture in the ’60s is that it went from the high architecture of Paul Rudolph, Tim Seibert and Victor Lundy [and] filtered down to the everyday person—in Southgate, and in civic and commercial buildings like the high schools and Sarasota City Hall,” says SAF board chair Christopher Wilson.

“What was introduced in the ’50s became more widespread, more known, and more accessible in the ’60s,” Wilson adds.

An array of panel discussions, parties, exhibits and neighborhood tours is planned for the architectural festival, which takes place Nov. 8-10, including a trolley tour of Southgate homes that have been brought into the 21st century while retaining their ’60s vibe.

The couple thousand Southgate homes built in the ’60s, says Wilson, are an excellent example of that “filter down” effect built for the middle class, with their open floor plans, floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors, large overhanging eaves and indoor/outdoor relationship—all carryovers from the groundbreaking design work done here by Rudolph and others in the 1950s.

“Additionally, the [1960s] developers added decorative ironwork, sunbursts, stripes and breeze blocks, which Paul Rudolph would be rolling over in his grave about,” says Wilson. “It’s still modern in design, just with some decorative touches.”

One important local architect who cemented his reputation in the ’60s with the iconic Plymouth Harbor retirement community is Frank Folsom Smith. He will lead a talk about his various projects Saturday morning at Holley Hall, and an exhibit of photographs of his 1960s built work, including Plymouth Harbor, the Lawyers Professional Building on upper Main Street and The Terrace condominium complex on Siesta Key, will take place all weekend at Art Center Sarasota. Plymouth Harbor also is the site of the MOD Weekend closing party.

Other architects who made an impact in the ’60s and beyond also will be featured, including Carl Abbott, Joe Farrell, Tim Seibert again, and Jack West.

For a complete schedule of Sarasota MOD Weekend events and tickets, visit

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