top of page

Paul Rudolph's Unbuilt Sarasota Masterpiece recreated in 3D

In 1955, this Paul Rudolph design won a Progressive Architecture award but ultimately proved too costly to build. I became *slightly* obsessed with this unbuilt so I decided to model it in 3D (I have found it to be much cheaper than actually building).

The structure is a raised pavilion with a large double height atrium in the center. Cantilevered walkways along each long side link the private and public areas. Operable flaps could open up the house to cooling crossbreezes and encourage a chimney effect, drawing cool air from below and expelling warm air outwards at the top . This innovative design for the Cohen family was the first of many schemes the architect devised before the clients gave the green light.

Below is the second floor plan illustrating the emphasis on living and entertaining space with two relatively small bedrooms with their own bathrooms on the left (South) side.

The living area to the right included a large open plan space skylit from above and a semi-open galley kitchen along the East wall. The semicircular element that overhangs the main volume is a curved lounge seating area, providing a more intimate cave-like space that Rudolph was so fond of.

The screened, double height atrium includes a novel 'crow's nest' cocktail lounge - yet another Rudolph signature space.

The first floor was mainly storage and one bathroom. By elevating nearly all the living space on a steel structure, Rudolph protected the home from seasonal destruction brought by hurricane storm surges, now a requirement in much of coastal Florida.

The counterweighted, operable flaps around much of the perimeter were one of many climate control ideas Rudolph embraced before air conditioning became widespread in Florida. They were probably an opaque plastic that allowed some light transmission but provided privacy and protection from the elements.

Many of the ideas in this project were recycled for the 1956 design Rudolph submitted for the Homestyle Center in Grand Rapids, MI the following year, also unbuilt that I recreated a couple of years ago.


Recent Posts
bottom of page