Florida/Caribbean Architect - Fall 2015 - (Page 9)
Editorial / Diane D. Greer
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Editor, florida/caribbean Architect
Diane D. Greer
Great Buildings Online is a website that describes itself as "a fantastic online
research tool for anyone interested in architecture around the world and across
history (it has primarily European and American buildings). It documents
a thousand buildings and hundreds of leading architects, with 3D models,
photographic images and architectural drawings, commentaries, bibliographies,
web links and more, for famous designers and structures of all kinds."
I have known about the site for a long time and I am reminded of it every year at
AIA Florida Design Awards time. Of the one thousand great buildings that are listed,
seven are in Florida. California has 54, New York 46 and most shocking, Virginia has
seven. That tells me that Georgian architecture built in the colonies was not considered
"great." But, I digress. What are the seven great buildings that are located in Florida?
Are you thinking Wright and Rudolph because if you are, you're on the right track.
The list includes Wright's Annie Pfeiffer Chapel at Florida Southern College,
Rudolph's Walker Guest House, Seaside, which I guess has to be taken as a
whole since no one building is referenced, the Team Disney Building by Arata
Isosaki, the Healey Guesthouse by Ralph Twitchell and the Broward County
Library by Robert Gatji. Granted, these are all great buildings, but so few! And
that brings me to why I think about this list at design awards time.
There are lots of great buildings being designed every year by Florida
architects. Most, but not all, are within the state. I live in Tallahassee and
while I have traveled the state widely, I do not always see new projects unless
they are submitted for publication. Thus, every August I am overcome with
a certain amount of shock and awe as I look at the award-winning projects
and realize that there is a considerable amount of "greatness" on display.
I think it's time that on-line list got updated!
This year was a particularly "wow" year in terms of project type, size, context,
"greenness" and impact on the immediate site and the global environment.
And, frankly, several projects were simply gorgeous to behold. There are those
who would argue that great photography doesn't hurt a building's chance
for recognition and there is some truth in that. But, overall, the 2015 design
jury seems to have made thoughtful decisions based on solid criteria.
In his introduction to the 2015 Design Awards program, Nathan Butler, AIA, LEED
AP, and 2014 President of AIA Florida, authored remarks that define "great" architecture
very well. With his kind permission, portions of those remarks are reprinted here.
"Architecture is a fundamental and defining characteristic of society. It embodies
collective ideals and aspirations, forming the fabric of communities. It is a
constant presence that frames our existence and experiences every day. Because
of this central role, both the relevance and resilience of architecture are most
readily measured by its impact on community health. Communities thrive when
the foresight of citizens is applied to transform vision into tangible, meaningful
results. Architecture - regardless of scale, location, or function - achieves its highest
station of relevance when it advances this goal. Insightful architects understand
that by the nature of their work, they are stewards of their community - and that
a community is most resilient when it is enabled to thrive by design." ■
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florida/caribbean ARCHITECT | fall 2015
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Florida/Caribbean Architect - Fall 2015
President’s Perspective / Andrew M. Hayes, AIA
Editorial / Diane D. Greer
Awards of Excellence in Architecture
Sustainability and Masonry Design Awards
Test of Time Awards
Theoretical and Research Design Award
Unbuilt Design Awards
Florida/Caribbean Architect - Fall 2015