Sarasota, FL. – Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF) is pleased to announce that Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph’s historic 1950 Cocoon House will open for limited public tours beginning Saturday, July 21, 2018.
SAF has secured a 12-month lease on the Cocoon House, whose formal name is the Healy Guest House, and will promote awareness of the building to the public during this Paul Rudolph centennial year.
“Cocoon House exemplifies one of the major characteristics of modern architecture, open space planning, which has recently been popularized by HGTV as ‘open concept,’ but has, in fact, been practiced since the early 20th century,” said Christopher Wilson, SAF board chair. “The home shows the creative experimentation with new and, at the time, un-tried construction materials, not only in the groundbreaking work of the Sarasota School of Architecture, but also in the modern architecture of the 1950s and 1960s.”
Advocating the importance of preserving these midcentury modern gems is part of the SAF mission and, in conjunction with Pat Ball of Ball Construction and Ellen Hanson Designs, the organization is finalizing certain cosmetic repairs to restore the iconic residence close to its original appearance for its July 21 public debut.
“These are important restorations in order to have the Cocoon House more representative of how it was when originally built,” said David Zaccardelli, SAF board member overseeing the process. “We replaced the front door; restored the louvers, stripping them to natural grain wood; painted the exterior; and restored the front and rear porch, including the originally designed metal bench on the porch overlooking Bayou Louise. We also repaired the driveway and walkway pavers and installed new screens.”
The Cocoon House will be available for limited scheduled tours beginning July 21, 2018, similar to the SAF-sponsored tours of the Paul Rudolph’s 1953 Umbrella House on Lido Shores.
Cocoon House was named “Best House Design of the Year” from the AIA in 1949; selected by MoMA New York as one of 19 examples of houses built since WWII that were “pioneers of design” in 1953; and locally designated as a historic property by the City of Sarasota in 1985.
Located on Bayou Louise Lane on Siesta Key, Cocoon House is a two-bedroom, one-bath, 760-square-foot cottage built as a guesthouse for Mr. and Mrs. W. R. Healy. The house gets its name from the technology used to build its roof: a polymer spray that Paul Rudolph saw being used at the Brooklyn Navy Yard on warships returning after WWII in order to “cocoon” or moth-ball them. Rudolph’s creativity made him realize that this material could also be used in the construction industry.
Local partners on the Cocoon House renovations include Ball Construction, Ellen Hanson Designs, Gulf Gate Rescreening, Kinney-Johnson, Leland Plumbing, Michael Hannon Painting, Pat O’Hara Pavers, Sarasota Paint Company, Superior Heating and Cooling and Victorian Rose Furniture Renewal.
SAF’s previous preservation initiatives have included conducting a community-wide charette to convince the Sarasota County School Board to properly renovate Paul Rudolph’s 1960 Sarasota High School. SAF was also instrumental in preserving the concrete canopies that connect Rudolph’s high school with the original building, now being transformed into the Sarasota Museum of Art by Ringling College of Art + Design.
About Sarasota Architectural Foundation (SAF)
SAF educates, advocates, and celebrates on behalf of the Sarasota School of Architecture’s significant contributions to mid-century American architecture.
Registration for Cocoon House tours will be available at: saf-srq.org/events
For more information, visit sarasotaarchitecturalfoundation.org.
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