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Check Out This Pair of Modern Homes That's Headed to Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores

Internationally acclaimed Spanish architectural firm Fran Silvestre Arquitectos is designing the cantilevered sister homes. One of them is for sale for $5.95 million.

By Kim Doleatto December 18, 2023

The homes will be at 4940 Sun Circle and 418 Acacia Drive in the Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores neighborhood in Sarasota.

Despite its laid-back beach town persona, one of Sarasota’s superpowers has always been its built environment. It started with the trailblazing innovators of the Sarasota School of Architecture, and it's continued into the present with local award-winning works that often apply the Sarasota School's principles.

Now another name is about to join the ranks and add its footprint to Sarasota's architectural scene. Spain-based firm Fran Silvestre Arquitectos is designing two homes in the Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores neighborhood just north of downtown. If you don't know the name, check out the surreal stunner the firm designed for an Egyptian billionaire that made the cover of Architectural Digest

One of the homes is for Jonathan Shraga, 54, and his family. The other is for whatever lucky duck buys it for $5.95 million.

The home will be cantilevered thanks to post-tension concrete beams.

Attracted to Sarasota via his love of architecture, Shraga, an Amazon software engineer, is moving from Austin, Texas, to build the home—well, homes—he always longed for. He credits his artist mother for his love of beautiful things, and the White City UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he’s originally from, for its Bauhaus tradition. There's a Sarasota tie there, too. Before moving to Sarasota, Sarasota School of Architecture great Victor Lundy studied at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design under the instruction of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius.

Shraga read an article in Dwell about the Tetrault-Pirman home, a contemporary single-family residence in the same neighborhood strongly influenced by the Sarasota School of Architecture. John Pirman has been a longtime contributor to Sarasota Magazine with his iconic illustrations, and we wrote about the home when it won a design award from the Society of Registered American Architects. The Tetrault-Pirman home is a few doors down the street from where Shraga is building. At the time, Shraga says he didn't know about the Sarasota School, but dove deep into researching it and visited Sarasota in 2019 and learn more.

“We toured Lido Shores and ran into a builder who is maintaining the Umbrella House. He invited us in and mentioned [the Indian Beach-Sapphire Shores neighborhood]. We toured it and fell in love,” Shraga says. “Not a lot of cities in the U.S. have a concentrated collection of homes like that.”

Now he’s adding two more. It’ll be a change from what he says is a "general 'nothing to write home about'" address in Austin where he and his family have been living for the past six years with their dog, Coda, a Shiba Inu.

The home, minutes from Sarasota Bay, will include a pool. 

He bought the empty lot at 4940 Sun Circle in 2019 for $500,000 and picked up 418 Acacia Drive next door in 2020 for $248,000. The latter is the one that's on the market. Shraga's will be the home fronting on the water, the other, sitting on roughly a quarter acre on Acacia Drive, will still capture water views from the main bedroom and the rooftop patio. Groundbreaking is slated for the spring of 2024, with roughly two years of building expected.

The two-story home begs a suspension of belief—and structure. The second floor appears to be hovering over the pool with little to no support, with the main bedroom hangs out thanks to post-tension concrete beams that defy gravity, giving it a floating effect.

Street view of 418 Acacia Drive.

It will span roughly 3,450 square feet, and have three bedrooms and bathrooms. It will also have an open floor plan for the kitchen, dining and living area, a two-car garage, an outdoor kitchen, a pool and terraces, an elevator, geothermal temperature control and, in Sarasota School style, oodles of glass.

A balance of square footage between in and out and lots of glass for nature views.

The home has "the reference of architect Paul Rudolph [a Sarasota School of Architecture pioneer] with its big windows and light architecture in terms of the shapes and the masses. It’s ethereal, with thin structural elements,” says Sevak Astrian, the architect from Fran Silvestre Arquitectos who is leading the design.

It's common to see the sale of two empty adjacent lots spell the coming of a McMansion, but Shraga says, “The goal is not maximizing the footprint, but the design value. They'll be built for a human scale and a small family or couple. The intent is to build a museum-quality house, including the landscape design." 

“The neighborhood has seen lots of tear-downs and rebuilds in recent years, but we're still overwhelmingly Craftsman, midcentury modern, and Cracker," says Bev Murray, who lives in the neighborhood. "The appeal of this area is its diversity of architecture, age and style.” 

“This home's audience will be smaller than your average coastal West Indies home might have. I'm not expecting it to fly off the shelf," says Mark Coppens, the founder of Living Vogue real estate, which is representing Shraga's listing. “I think it'll sell to an architecture buff who is well-traveled and appreciates the craft–it won’t be your average buyer.” 

The cost from design to build will be "a few million, at least,” says Shraga. After all, "the glass itself will be more than $500,000," he says. "I don't look at this project with the eyes of a developer, but something I want to live next to."

Interested? Call Mark Coppens of Living Vogue at (941) 444-0436.

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