43 architectural firms compete to design Sarasota performing arts center

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Florida Construction News staff writer

More than 40 architectural firms from around the world submitted applications to design a new Sarasota performing arts center, the Van Wezel Foundation and City of Sarasota announced.

The 43 respondents included many world-renowned architectural firms.

The architect selection task force have invited a shortlist of applicants to respond to a request for proposals (RFP) for the transformative project for Sarasota and the region.

The 18 firms invited to submit proposals are Adjaye Associates, Arquitectonica, Diamond Schmitt, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Foster + Partners Limited, Gehry Partners LLP, Henning Larsen, Pelli Clarke & Partners, Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Rex Architecture P.C., Safdie Architects, Sanaa Jimusho Ltd., Shigeru Ban Architects, Snøhetta, Steven Holl Architects, Studio Gang, Studios Architecture, and Zaha Hadid Limited.

“As a once-in-a-generation project, 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,” said City of Sarasota Manager Marlon Brown. “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.”

The architect selection process will include six public meetings and is funded through an appropriation from the State of Florida. Task force meetings will be open to the public and the selection process will culminate in a short list of finalists coming to Sarasota to present their qualifications to the community. This process is separate from the Blue Ribbon panel that will soon be seated by the City Commission to make recommendations regarding viable options for future reuse, purpose, ownership and operation of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

“We are proud to work with our partners at the City of Sarasota on this transformational project,” said Cheryl Mendelson, CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation. “With the submission of qualifications from these accomplished firms, we now continue the robust review process that moves us closer to the vision of Sarasota as an international destination for the arts. This isn’t just a building. Together, we are building a place for ideas, a place for the arts, a place for you.”

Once the RFP submissions are received and reviewed, the task force will meet publicly to winnow the candidates to a pool of approximately 4 to 6 finalists.

Visit http://vwfoundation.org/onpoint/ to get the facts about the project.

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