Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Architecture



Major Professor

George Dodds

Committee Members

Tricia Stuth, Avigail Sachs


Sarasota High School, designed by Paul Rudolph in 1958, physically embodies the central ideas of Regional Modernism that developed in Sarasota, Florida in the 1940s and 50s. Covered breezeways, monumental sunshades, deep overhangs, and sliding glass doors promote natural ventilation and sun shading as ways to deal with Florida’s hot climate. As an example of progressive architecture of the time, it is a seminal work of Rudolph’s and significant to Sarasota’s architectural legacy of climatically responsive, modernist buildings that captured international attention.

Sixty years later, Sarasota High School is now unoccupied and in a state of disrepair. The school board released plans in 2007 to rehabilitate it after razing Riverview High School, another nationally recognized Rudolph design. A battle between preservationists and the school board has since ensued over the recent renovation plans, which will potentially erase the most significant, character-defining elements of Rudolph’s Sarasota High School.

The proposed reinvigoration of Sarasota High School exists at three scales: a re-design of the campus, a selective adaptation of the 1958 building, and a systems intervention to achieve optimal thermal comfort. A unified master plan will bring ideas of sun shading and temperature amelioration to the entire campus. In the building, a mixture of editing Rudolph’s form and inserting new program will make it functional as a 21st century learning environment. To consider these spaces as living environments, Rudolph’s passive environmental strategies will be paired with active, energy-efficient systems tailored to handle the extreme heat and humidity of Florida. Respecting and responding to Rudolph provides an opportunity to bring Sarasota High School into a heightened state, both critically and technically.

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