I studied Art History in Undergrad and believe it or not I was obsessed with the Renaissance era. Everything had meaning, a symbology that was typically related to religion, mathematics, the universe, mankind, and mythology. It was all about direct storytelling. The architecture was a large part of it, of course, cathedrals that were evolving from a gothic construction were now palaces of worship. The textbook part of it, looking at vaulted ceilings, columns, and diagrams, was not exciting at all to me. It really wasn't until I actually visited the Florence Cathedral or the Sistine Chapel that I felt the intention.
Fast forward to the present day after growing up surrounded with books on Frank Lloyd Wright - my mother's favorite architect, dating an architect who took me to Taliesen West in Arizona in early college years, visiting Palm Springs for Modernism Week on several occasions, visiting a few of Le Corbusiers' homes and apartment, countless contemporary art museums who's architecture have spoken louder than their art collection and a brief obsession with Renzo Piano and Lina Bo Bardi; architecture and space, in general, has become a large part of my practice and travel plans.
In my hometown of Miami, FL the architecture of Alfred Browning Parker, a decent of Frank Lloyd Wright's influence has struck a chord ever since I first came across his work many years ago. I felt like his work was a treasure I was uncovering. I wondered why his homes weren't part of some guided architecture tour. Parker's work is unique to the tropical landscape of Florida and unlike Frank Lloyd Wright, Parker's buildings blend into the landscape working with nature not only aesthetically, but also in function, using cross ventilation and shade.
After countless conversations on modernist architecture with my friend Johnny Laderer and us pitching for a project that involved Paul Rudolph's iconic Walker Guest House, which has yet to happen, we decided to create Florida Modernism + Design. An organization that celebrates the concepts and aesthetics behind modernist architecture in the state of Florida. Through field trips and events we propose the organization to be a way of looking backward in order to look forward.
Unlike modernist architecture in California or in the North East, modernism in Florida integrated our singular tropical landscape. We see movements such as the Sarasota School of Architecture which was uniquely inspired by the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings on the Florida Southern College campus in Lakeland, the largest grouping of FLW buildings anywhere. Miami Modern was a regional response to the International style and there are other individual examples sprinkled throughout the state.
In 2017 we organized field trips to Sarasota for Modernism Weekend and to St. Augustine. We hosted a panel conversation at ICFF, Miami on the developing neighborhood of Little River in Miami, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. If you are interested in learning more about upcoming events and reading on Florida modernism check out our website and sign up for our newsletter. I'll be reposting on The Empty Apartment some of the articles I write for FM+D.
The latest is The Seahorses of Lido Beach, Sarasota
Florida Modernism + Design is also on Instagram @floridamodernismanddesign