A venerable Who’s Who of big-name architects has been announced as the 18-strong shortlist to deliver a new performing arts center to the center of downtown Sarasota, Florida — America's second-fastest growing community.
The group was selected out of a larger 43-entry field announced last month by the city and includes proposals from Gehry Partners, Adjaye Associates, Zaha Hadid Limited, Diamond Schmitt, RPBW, and Arquetectonica. The new center will replace the aging Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son-in-law, William Wesley Peters. Costs for the multiyear project are expected to range between $275 and $300 million.
Foster + Partners, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Shigeru Ban, and Steven Holl Architects also made the cutdown for the new shortlist, which was rounded out by REX, Studio Gang, Snøhetta, Henning Larsen, SANAA, Pelli Clarke & Partners, STUDIOS Architecture, and Safdie Architects.
“These applicants represent the best of the best firms from around the world, having designed some of the most world-renowned institutions across the globe,” City Manager Marlon Brown said in a statement. “This remarkable response shows how highly regarded the world views Sarasota’s arts and culture as we look to continue to build upon our future as a cherished destination.”
There is also a parallel petition drive to retain and reuse the existing 52-year-old Performing Arts Hall still currently in circulation.
A list of 4 to 6 finalists will be selected at a later date by the city and Van Wezel Foundation, which is overseeing the project. In a statement, Van Wezel Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson added their hopes that the star-studded design eventually “moves us closer to the vision of Sarasota as an international destination for the arts.”
More information about the project can be found here.
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