The brand new ‘Architectural Guidebook to Central Florida’ reveals probably the most spectacular buildings within the area Bücher | Orlando


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  • Photo by Lindsey Thompson

  • One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings at Florida Southern College

If you’ve never thought of Orlando as a place to be for great building discovery, there is a new book out there that might make you reconsider. The Architectural Guidebook to Central Florida collects more than 280 examples of breathtaking structures in the region with photos and essays by design professionals.

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The guide includes historic downtown buildings from the early 20th century such as Ferg’s Depot and the Bumby Building that were unwrapped from the old meme Church Street Station, a mental shift that was long overdue. There are also as many modern mid-century homes as there are left – lovely residences are leveled daily to make way for McMansion’s, but many are still making the cut. Santiago Calatrava’s futuristic Florida Polytechnic University and Florida Southern College, the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in a single location, are included in the book along with postmodern works by Phillip Johnson and Michael Graves for Disney and Celebration. And you’ll also find Isabel Roberts, one of Wright’s most trusted associates before moving to Florida to set up her own business. She and her partner Ida Ryan, America’s first female architect, worked in an office near downtown Orlando and designed, among other things, the Unity Chapel on Lake Eola.

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Santiago Calatravas Florida Polytechnic University - PHOTO BY LINDSEY THOMPSON

  • Photo by Lindsey Thompson

  • Santiago Calatravas Florida Polytechnic University

Orlando Weekly art writer Richard Reep, also a local architect, contributed to the book. “It manages to squeeze together a few good stories about the buildings and architects that make up our landscape,” he says. “Who knew the supposedly heartless Leona Helmsley donated money to build the American Heart Association building on Marks Street after her only son died of a heart attack while working at the downtown Harley Hotel? And hired Arquitectonica, a young (then) young company from Miami, to do the design? ”

The 316-page book includes addresses and maps to facilitate self-guided tours. It was published by the Orlando Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Senior Editor Greg Stock, who worked on the project for over a year, says, “It took so long that we had to edit the book a couple of times. Buildings kept being demolished, making it shorter and shorter. “The result, however, is a fascinating snapshot of the design character of our region and brings to life the sense of place that defines our unique part of a unique state.


Janet Smith