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A Florida Midcentury House Unlocks the Era—and Its Architect

Celebrated in its time, Paul Rudolph's Walker Guest House (Sanibel Island, Florida, 1952-53) is a magical modernist box essential for understanding Rudolph and midcentury modernism. When I was researching The Architecture of Paul Rudolph (Yale University Press, 2014), finding this small house amidst the beachside scrub of Sanibel Island, Florida, was a tricky, if pleasurable, treasure hunt. But now you can see it more easily. To make this important early Rudolph work accessible, a replica has been built for display at the Ringling Art Museum in Sarasota this fall.

Most remembered for his controversial, large-scale Brutalist buildings of the 1960s, Rudolph (1918-97) first achieved international acclaim in the late 1940s and early 1950s for a series of widely published, structurally expressive beach houses he designed in Sarasota, Florida, with Ralph Twitchell (1890-1978).

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