While Palm Springs and Los Angeles get all the attention from Midcentury architecture fans, there’s a case to be made that Sarasota, Florida, belongs in that list of warm-weather meccas that served as testing grounds for the style, due in large part to the work of Paul Rudolph. The Kentucky-born architect, who would study at Auburn and then the Harvard School of Design under Walter Gropius, developed his own style of airy, lightweight, "Bauhaus on the Beach" homes along the Florida coast, first working as a partner of Ralph Twitchell, then as head of his own firm. Boxy residences with wide overhangs and flat roofs, these designs, such as the Walker Guest House, cut a clean profile amid their sandy surroundings, utilizing plastic and plywood in ways Rudolph picked up while building for the Navy during WWII.
This unbuilt model, a guest house meant for Siesta Keys, Florida, that was designed in 1947, features signature flourishes from Rudolph’s post-war work, such as a raised steel frame and a simple, streamlined facade. Drawn up with Twitchell for Roberta Healy Finney, Twitchell’s fiance, the design appears to anticipate many of the partnership’s later successes, including the Cocoon House, another project for Finney that would earn the pair of designers widespread attention from the press. It’s also the first Rudolph project to utilize hinged overhang panels, which would be utilized to great effect on the Walker Guest House. Meant to be constructed of wood and glass, the raised home also appears to anticipate the glass box designs that would be realized by contemporaries such as Philip Johnson and Mies van der Rohe. In describing the project, Rudolph sounded a suitably modern tone, suggesting "the kitchen is designed as a linear movement system, like ‘an assembly line, culminating in a built-in dining table."
This virtual tour was created by Archilogic, a firm that specializes in creating 3D models for architecture and real estate, and allows users to upload floorplans and create their own virtual tours. Check out their tours of unbuilt Frank Lloyd Wright projects, including the Ralph Jester House and the Dr. Hugh Pratt Home. Recently, Archilogic officially released spaces.archilogic.com, which allows users to create their own virtual tours by signing up here.
∙ A Florida Midcentury House Unlocks the Era—and Its Architect [Curbed]
∙ Paul Rudolph Midcentury Marvel Recreated Down to Last Detail [Curbed]