Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2014 - (Page 10)

Continued from page 11 has failed to comprehend the building's functional nuances. Clearly, they were unprepared to give Wolf's vision the care and attention required to conserve it. As current owner, Denis Udwin of In-Rel Properties, stated, "Nobody understands this building." Given Mr. Wolf's almost metaphysical approach to the building's design, very few people can. The round tower presents obvious, but not insurmountable, space planning challenges for speculative multi-tenant uses and has struggled to attract tenants. It seems that traditional-minded tenants looking for that plush corner office with a view of Tampa Bay are denied that corporate hierarchical achievement simply due to the tower's cylindrical form. Renttendering tenants have avoided the tower in favor of more traditional office floor plates. That is an unfortunate assumption given the creative potential inherent in Wolf's unique plan. The banking pavilion, or "cube," is no longer used as the monumental banking Project Credits: Harry Wolf, FAIA, Architect; Dan Kiley, Landscape Architect; Reynolds Smith & Hills, Landscape Architecture/ Kiley Garden; Michael Dudek, ASD Tampa, Interior Architect of Record; Beck Group, General Contractor; BDG Architects, Tower Renovation Architect. hall it was crafted to house. In hindsight, it appears that advances in digital banking technologies were usurping the functional needs of Wolf's public banking facility. Without the need for physical customer service, many subsequent owner/investors have struggled with how to capitalize the rentable area of that space. Currently, in addition to a scaleddown banking function, the space houses The Tampa Bay Photographic Museum which seems an appropriate functional fit. The lobby also houses an upscale coffee shop that helps to entice social interaction in the voluminous space. Conclusion Architect Harry Wolf, FAIA, talks to the audience about his personal design criteria for the tower project. Photo by Ali. 12 While noble in its architectural goals, the fact is that Rivergate Tower is ultimately a speculative real estate investment. Rivergate Tower's recent physical and financial downgrade begs the question, "Can monumental civic architecture also be a profitable commodity through the generations?" The current owner hopes it can be. Maybe the time is right for a new generation to interact and experience Mr. Wolf's vision. Having recently toured the building to facilitate the 25th anniversary celebration, I believe that In-Rel Properties and its architecturally trained co-founder Dennis Udwin, provide the building with the much-needed respect that previous owners have lacked. In-Rel quickly invested $3,000,000 in a renovation that respects the original design intent while repositioning the building to compete well into the new millennium. In the end, while the passage of time has blurred the edges of Mr. Wolf's vision, there is hope that the next 25 years will see enlightened stewardship of Mr. Wolf's giant sundial on Tampa Bay. ■ www.aiafla.org http://www.aiafla.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2014

President’s Perspective / Nathan Butler, AIA, LEED AP
Editorial / Diane D. Greer
The Geometer’s Tower at 25
3-D Laser Scanning: A Snapshot in Time
The Call-Collins House Restoration
The Conservation of Preservation
Lakeland Service Center for Joe G. Tedder, Tax Collector
Poker Room for Jacksonville Greyhound Racing
A Word from Your 2014 Florida/ Caribbean Associate Directors
Mosaic Salon
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Florida/Caribbean Architect - Winter 2014