Sarasota, FL– August 30, 2017 — Ringling College of Art and Design is pleased to announce that Phase 2 of construction for the Ringling College Museum Campus resumed on Wednesday, July 28 with an estimated construction timeline of 16 months. During that time, renovations will be made to the interior of the Historic Sarasota High School, as well as to Building 42 (the building behind the High School). This construction will complete the adaptive reuse of the High School and transform it into the Campus’ two entities: Sarasota Museum of Art and Ringling College School of Continuing Studies.
“Here we go! We are moving full-speed ahead now to complete the construction and we are thrilled to see this community campus come to life,” says Dr. Larry R. Thompson, President of Ringling College. “This is a momentous time in the history of the College and the entire Sarasota community, as we watch our many years of researching, fundraising, and designing finally come to fruition.”
Phase I of the adaptive reuse of the Historic Sarasota High School began in Spring 2015. That phase involved excavation to strip the building back to the original 1926 construction, revealing the exquisite “bones” of the structure and letting us imagine the expansive interior spaces, perfect for art museum galleries. This was followed by a full structural stabilization of the facility, extensive civil engineering and structural testing work to determine design viability, revitalization of the exterior brick and mortar skin system, and the installation of new impact-resistant window systems to meet Florida’s stringent hurricane code requirements.
Then, in a stroke of fortuitous timing, the Sarasota County School Board offered to include under the lease to Ringling College of the Historic Sarasota High School, Building 42 (a 20,000 square foot building behind the High School), along with adjacent parking and additional land. Ringling College also welcomed the inaugural Executive Director for the Sarasota Museum of Art, Anne-Marie Russell. Her extensive Museum expertise prompted a new and inspired look at the way the College could use the expanded building opportunity to further grow the Museum and its gallery space, and reimagine the entire complex as a community campus.
As a result of this re-visioning, the College decided to take a pause in the construction to re-examine the Museum’s original design and the expanded facility and land. As a result, the Museum was redesigned to incorporate more gallery space, additional “back of the house” space, a multi-purpose community room, a café/bistro, classrooms, and art making studio spaces.
“The Trustees of Ringling College are thrilled to see Phase 2 of the adaptive reuse of the Historic Sarasota High School underway. Having the Sarasota Museum of Art and the College’s School of Continuing Studies (the Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy and the College’s continuing education program) within the High School and the building behind will be a tremendous asset not just to Ringling College, but to the Greater Sarasota community. We are deeply committed to this project and we are very excited to have launched this new phase. The exceptional redesign of the Museum and Museum Campus is the result of extensive research and expertise, and we are confident that the improved project will successfully serve our community for many generations to come,” notes Dean Eisner, Chair of the Ringling College Board of Trustees.
“As a globally-renowned college of art and design, Ringling College is a deep believer in the importance of great architecture and its ability to shape our world. We are thrilled to add this project to our ever-expanding collection of architecturally-significant buildings, with the new Visual Art Center by Sweet Sparkman and the Alfred R. Goldstein Library by Shepley Bullfinch, the most recent additions to our portfolio. Although the Historic Sarasota High School building itself does not change, what happens when one steps into the building, will be a “WOW!”. The beauty and functionality of our contemporary art museum and its campus are brilliant,” said Dr. Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College.
The expanded vision of the Museum Campus greatly benefitted from master planning input by Ayers Saint Gross of Baltimore, specialists in campus design and architects of the new Ringling College campus residence hall, which broke ground in June 2017. ASG also contributed to the program development for the College’s School of Continuing Studies headquarters and classrooms for the Ringling College Lifelong Learning Academy—ensuring a wide range of additional educational offerings to complement the educational programming of the Sarasota Museum of Art.
The Sarasota-based architecture firm, Lawson Group Associates, is the architectural firm that serves as the architect of record and they led the redesign of the facililties. Because of the opportunity to expand and re-conceptualize the design of the Museum, the renowned museum architecture firm, K/R, was brought in to work with Lawson Group Associates. K/R Principal Terry Riley served as The Philip Johnson Chief Curator for Architecture and Design of the New York Museum of Modern Art, where he took a lead role in MoMA’s 2004 Taniguchi expansion. He served as Executive Director and Project Design Consultant for the Miami Art Museum (now the Perez Art Museum Miami) and led the project resulting in the celebrated Herzog & De Meuron building. Riley’s architecture practice, and K/R’s partner consultancy—Parallel—work with museums worldwide. “And we are delighted that list now includes Ringling College’s Sarasota Museum of Art,” commented Larry Thompson.
“Few people in the world are as qualified as Terry Riley to contribute to our project. Art museums are complex, multidimensional cultural institutions that serve the public in myriad ways. As a skilled architect, former art museum curator and art museum executive director, Terry’s experience has been invaluable,” notes Sarasota Museum of Art Executive Director Anne-Marie Russell.
Highlights of the expanded vision for the Sarasota Museum of Art and Ringling College Museum Campus:
courtyard sculpture and performance space
courtyard sculpture and performance space
The two buildings are united by a circulation loop which circles around an expanded central courtyard and sculpture garden to allow for the Historic High School’s east façade to open onto a beautiful community space. Entering The Plaza through the Main Gate, visitors will find a dynamic public space, alive with art, experiences and social activity. The café/bistro will spill out onto the sculpture and performance court, with stairs doubling as performance seating and community space. The Plaza will evoke both a bustling “Main Street” and classic campus “Quad”.
The Great Hall
lobby & reception area
lobby & reception area
The exquisite details of the historic SHS foyer will be restored, and that entry will open up to the new welcome lobby and reception area—the Great Hall—a grand public area that will welcome visitors from both the Sculpture and Performance Court and the trailside Great Lawn and Sculpture and Performance area.
The Museum Shop
There are two retail areas off of the Great Hall. One is a flexible retail area, which can be transformed into open space to accommodate parties, events and performances. The second is a fixed retail area for jewelry, unique design items, artist multiples, books and more. We anticipate the Museum Shop becoming the “go to” venue for great gift items and interesting books.
The Great Lawn
The green space along Tamiami Trail and to the north will be a park-like space, which will include large-scale sculpture and installation works, a creative children’s play area, and further features to encourage visitors to enjoy the beautiful Sarasota weather and reflect on all they have experienced in the Galleries and classrooms.
Museum Exhibition Galleries
This design provides for 15,000 sq. ft. of dedicated gallery space for the Museum. The Tower Gallery is the highlight of the Museum exhibition spaces, with a monumental cathedral space graced with natural light from above. This space will host large-scale paintings, monumental sculptures and site-specific installations. There is additional flex space in the multi-purpose area for Museum art installations that are too large or heavy to be accommodated on the second or third floor galleries, allowing for a wide range of exhibition spaces to accommodate the disparate objects, installations and experiences that comprise art in the contemporary era.