One of the key items that made the Sarasota School of Architecture both appealing and unique, was the way the designers incorporated the conditions of the home site into the design, and used them to the benefit of the design by enriching artistic expression and being more functional. This concept is at the heart landscape design weather it's continuing vision of the architect on a multi-million dollar estate or planning the family yard in the suburbs.
By taking into account, the conditions at hand, a landscape designer can use the environment to help, cool a property, improve water quality, create privacy, make more usable area around the property and even improve the security of a home - all the while making a beautiful statement with gardening and hardscape elements.
The Sarasota School of Architecture movement got designers thinking about their designs in a holistic fashion. These concepts also lend themselves to creating a landscape is easier to manage. When the designer work with the surroundings rather than against them, plants are healthier and require less irrigation, less fertilizer and as a result have a reduced impact on the local environment.
As time goes on and these concepts have evolved further, it's interesting to note how much the scope of factors a landscape design must now consider has grown. The pioneering mid-century modernists branched out to incorporate the natural surroundings and weather conditions into their designs. Present day designers have greatly expanded on this concept, with not only considering sunlight, wind patterns, but how to utilize and manage storm water, waste water, safety and security, and in colder locations even use the landscape to provide heating for the building.
Another concept repeated in many Sarasota School of architecture residences, is blurring the line between the outdoors and interior spaces. Sarasota Modern, extends into the landscape by echoing the design motif's of the building's structure, in the forms and hardscape elements in the landscape. They accomplished this a number of ways, for the exterior, integrating garden spaces and water features with the structure, and for the interior, large open panels of glass let in the outdoors, and as in the Rupp House, landscape elements can be created inside the structure. This also can blur the lines between architect and landscape designer!
The current issues landscape designers and contractors will continue to deal with such as water conservation and management, energy efficiency , and reducing the overall impact of a building on the environment have reinforced the relevance of the Sarasota Modern movement and illustrate just how ahead of their time those architects and designers really were.
Grant Beatt of Grants Gardens.