Constructed in 1959, Sarasota High School (SHS) is one of a series of projects designed by Paul Rudolph that had a significant impact on modern architecture in Florida.
The final design positioned the building adjacent to a hillside with the major axis running north / south. The layout is defined by two breezeways with the largest becoming the “front door” for the building.
After 50-years as a High School, the building was repurposed to become the “front door” of the entire campus and the home of the administrative offices.
Because of the public role as a main entry the Client needed to control direct access to the campus and decided that the breezeway provided the opportunity for enhanced security.
The challenge was not only designing enhanced security, but overcoming the current “chain link” fence / gate standards that the school facility guidelines would approve.
This “project within a project” started with a review of possible solutions so that the new work was not mistaken for something original to the Rudolph composition. The overall intent was to show contrast to the original building in all manner of form.
The original palette is white, therefor the new work is black.
The existing forms float and hang from above, while the new fence / gate are supported and elevated from below.
The Rudolph shapes are aligned and slip past each other, while the new shapes are overlapped and inter-connect within themselves.
The outline of all the Rudolph pieces / parts have crisp edges, but the new elements have rounded corners and cylindrical dowel connectors.
By contrasting to the new with the old, you have the character of history without being beholden to it. The result is an unadorned design that simultaneously defers to the power of the original space and makes itself known.