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Get a Glimpse of Architectural History at Siesta Key's Cocoon and Revere Houses

Tour two of Siesta Key’s architectural gems to learn why the Sarasota School of Architecture’s legacy endures and delights.

By Kim Doleatto July 21, 2021

The Cocoon House on at 3575 Bayou Louise Lane on Siesta Key is open to the public this month.

If you’ve heard of the Sarasota School of Architecture but aren’t sure what it’s all about, these upcoming home tours are a great opportunity to find out firsthand. 

Tour Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph's historic 1950 Healy Guest House, also known as the Cocoon House. Twitchell is known as the grandfather of the Sarasota School; he and Rudolph were originally design partners. Rudolph also made significant contributions to the Sarasota School and went on to become internationally known for his style; he later served as chair of Yale's architecture department.

Located on Bayou Louise Lane on Siesta Key, the Cocoon House is a two-bedroom, one-bath, 760-square-foot cottage originally built as a guesthouse for Twitchell’s in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Healy. The house gets its name from its roof. Rudolph used a polymer spray on it after he saw it being used at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on warships returning after WWII in order to "cocoon" them. It was unheard of to use such technology in residential buildings at the time.

Surrounded by windows on all four sides, it’s bright and airy despite its humble size. The front and back windows have exterior wooden blinds that, when shuttered, transform the interior into a private, cozy nook. 

The Cocoon House was selected in 1953 by the New York Museum of Modern Art as one of the 19 examples of houses built since World War II as a pioneering design foreshadowing the future. The house was historically designated by the City of Sarasota in 1985.

The Revere Quality House at 100 Ogden Lane on Siesta Key is open to the public this month.

Image: Wayne Eastep

Also designed by Twitchell and Rudolph, the Revere Quality House is known as the first iconic structure of the Sarasota School movement. 

It illustrated how copper could be used in residential settings and was part of an innovative program to meet the housing needs of returning World War II veterans.

The house, facing Bayou Louise, has exaggerated horizontal lines that allow for water views and flow-through ventilation in the days before air-conditioning was taken for granted–a signature design element of the Sarasota School.

Twitchell family members, including Ralph Twitchell, lived there for decades. An elevated 4,755-square-foot addition that meets flood-zone rules and also adds a luxury living component was completed in 2007.

On March 26, 2008, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

Tours of the Cocoon House and the Revere Quality House take place on Saturday, July 31, at 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. For more information and tickets, click here.

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