100 Loves

A New Architecture Sarasota Initiative Pays Tribute to 100 'Moderns That Matter'

“It’s a snapshot in time when we know so much change is coming.”

By Kim Doleatto March 20, 2024

St. Paul Lutheran Church at 2256 Bahia Vista St., designed by Sarasota School of Architecture great Victor Lundy.

Editor's note: The nominations are in, and Architecture Sarasota will launch and exhibit Moderns That Matter: Sarasota 100, along with an accompanying publication, today, March 20, at 5 p.m. at 265 S. Orange Ave. in Sarasota.

The list includes a range of structures, sites and districts that are valued by the community; contribute to the education, pleasure, and welfare of the public and reflect the social, cultural and architectural history of Sarasota. More than 340 participants submitted more than 580 nominations and the list of 100 was assembled using a set of criteria and input from outside experts

Read the original announcement below:

When was the first time a building made you feel something? It could be the spot you first held hands with a loved one or the unusual curve of a building that tugs the eyes during a daily commute. Whatever the place, “it just has to make you smile” says Marty Hylton, president of Architecture Sarasota, which recently launched a new initiative called Moderns That Matter.

The aim of Moderns That Matter is to create a list of 100 places that make Sarasota, well, Sarasota. Called the Sarasota 100, the list will be based on the public’s nominations and can include spaces, buildings, a neighborhood, a public art piece, a bench under a particular tree, or even a sign. “It just needs to speak to the area’s character,” says Hylton. Since the project's announcement launch during last weekend’s annual Sarasota MOD Weekend event, roughly 100 nominations from the public have already come through.

Although some people may assume their nomination has to be grand, or attached to a famed architect or historical figure, it goes deeper than that.

For example, Hylton says the Victor Lundy-designed St. Paul Lutheran Church on Bahia Vista Street, which falls in that category, was nominated by someone because their grandparents were married there.

Another person nominated the Sarasota Physicians Surgical Center at 3201 S. Tamiami Trail—the one with the blue zigzag concrete awning. Their comment was: “I drive by this building every day. It makes me smile. I know nothing about it. Tell me more.”

“It's a personal connection to their version of Sarasota,” Hylton says.

Sarasota Art Museum

Sarasota Art Museum

Population growth and new development ranked as the top issue facing Sarasota County for the fourth year in a row, according to an annual survey of county residents. Although the Moderns That Matter list doesn’t guarantee protections from the wrecking ball, it aims to bring recognition to structures by engaging the public as stakeholders in Sarasota’s built environment. Nominations can also step outside the county. The Gloria Dei Lutheran Church on Anna Maria Island in Manatee County, for example—also designed by Lundy—was nominated.

Another twist is that nominations can be about something that’s being built now.

“We’re in this remarkable period of growth, and we’re asking people to pause and look around, because [the region] is going to be very different in 10 years,” Hylton says. “It opens the question, ‘What do we want to take with us and what will remain?’” 

The Longboat Key fire station

The Longboat Key fire station

The nominations are also about stories. For example, the county’s fire stations have been nominated. Designed by Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors, the one on Longboat Key was inspired by Sarasota School of Architecture great Tim Seibert, who designed a nearby neighborhood.

“Some stories are told over and over but we want to capture socio-cultural history as well. This list is a starting point,” Hylton says.

The list will be made into a book, and other ideas, like adding plaques with QR codes that tell a building’s story, are being floated.

“It’s a snapshot in time when we know so much change is coming," Hylton says. "When significant buildings are demolished, it's always economic value that wins out, but it shouldn’t be. Historic preservation is about managing change and not freezing things in time. Obviously, things are changing, but we don’t have to destroy everything in the process.” 

Nominate your favorite here by January 31, 2024. 

The Sarasota 100 list will announced and celebrated at Architecture Sarasota on March 20, starting at 5 p.m.

Show Comments