Tampa, October 25- 26, 2013
East-West Dialogues: Modern Architectures in Florida  is a two-part symposium designed as forum to investigate the multiple forms and meanings of mid-century architecture across the State of Florida. The symposium was organized to solicit critical reflections on modern Florida through the lens of the architects who defined it, and to further survey the discourse among them. These architects, and the diversity of their work, have received varying attention as individuals, but little recognition as a group. This symposium is particularly inspired by the architectural legacy of Mark Hampton, a critically acclaimed Florida architect with work spanning the state from Tampa to Miami.
While one purpose of the symposium is to further explore the work of Florida’s modernists on both coasts, East-West Dialogues will also explore the proximities and limits of east-west discourse. In an era of improving communications, Florida architects at mid-century took inspiration from diverse sources: the coastal polarity of US institutions; the cross-influences of modernism among Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas; and the flow of ideas around the tropic belt were all important.
The confluence of these variables, positioned through the development of a regionally specific architecture, forged an identity in Florida, where modernity acquired new meanings.
Sponsored by the James Deering Danielson Foundation, organized by the University of Miami School of Architecture and co-sponsored by Docomomo US/Florida, East-West Dialogues features symposia in Miami and Tampa. East-West Miami, November 16-17, 2012, focused on the Florida modern home. East-West Tampa, scheduled for October 25-26, 2013, will concentrate on schools, universities, and other institutional works. It will incorporate two sessions and a roundtable discussion.
Schools, colleges and universities were critical building blocks for the development of a modern civil society in Florida, and modern architecture became an instrument in the expression of a regional identity in the State. In fact, Florida was an important laboratory for innovation in education, both on a policy level and on the ground with new building programs that struggled to keep up with its growth. Beginning in the 1930s and continuing to the late 1960s, a new educational infrastructure transformed Florida.
In several respects, Florida’s experience tracks larger national and even international trends. The New Deal of the 1930s gave a major boost to the number and quality of American schools while modernizing their pedagogic program and expressing the new theories of progressive education. By the late 1930s, innovative modern schools like William Lescaze’s Ansonia High School in Ansonia, Connecticut (1937), and the Crow Island School in Winnetka, Illinois by Perkins, Wheeler & Will and Eliel and Eero Saarinen (1940), put a modernist face on progressive educational ideas. By the 1960s, the Open Schools and Free Schools movements brought radical changes to school typologies. Major new campuses, like the University of Miami by Robert L. Weed and Marion Manley (started in1945), and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Florida Southern College (started in 1938), were landmark structures of the modern school movement. The rise of community colleges, like the Team Ten-inspired campuses by Peter Spillis and Hilario Candela in Miami (1960-1974) and I.M Pei’s New College (1965) in Sarasota, created a whole new paradigm of education.
Recent events related to Florida’s midcentury resources, such as the demolition of Paul Rudolph’s Riverview High School (June 2009), require an immediate debate about the value of these structures. A better understanding of their appearance (the lack of which has frequently caused their early dismissal by the same educational institutions that generated them), needs to be developed. The problem is not limited to Florida. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, many Modern public schools in New Orleans were slated for demolition. These include schools designed by Charles R. Colbert, Ricciuti Associates, and Curtis & Davis (George Washington Carver Junior-Senior High, built 1958).
Likewise, Wayland High School in Wayland, Massachusetts, among the many schools designed by The Architects Collaborative (TAC) and an instant emblem of midcentury design and educational innovation when it opened in 1960, was demolished in early 2012.
The primary focus of East-West Tampa will be the design and development of modern schools, community colleges and universities. The symposium will be divided into two main sessions:
Session 1 – East-West: The modern school movement across Florida
The first session will identify, reflect, discuss and bring into deeper and broader understanding the nature of the modern schools movement in Florida. It will evaluate the relevance of this movement in the overall development of the State and explore the regional discourse that led to the development of tropical modernism.
Session 2 – East-West: The modern schools movement and its impact on architecture and society
The second session will explore the broader faces of the modern schools movement in the US, and examine architecture for education internationally.
The symposium intends to explore the ideas and practices involved in the development of modern schools. Contributors are invited to propose papers preferably dealing with archival and primary material ; interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged. A series of session themes/topics has been identified but the organizers encourage paper presenters to explore outside the bounds of these topics. Among the topics defined are:
- The impact of educational philosophy on school design
- Tropical influences in the design of the educational and the campus facility
- Evolution of modern school design
- The impact of campuses upon their urban context
- Postwar trends in building for higher education: The rise of the community colleges and the development of new suburban campuses
- The impact of technology and new materials on school design
- The Open Schools movement
- Modern schools in the American hemisphere (non-US)
Organizers are keen on making East-West Tampa a point of encounter for scholars from Florida, the Caribbean and the United States. In addition to the two main sessions, a keynote address and roundtable discussion are planned. Conference organizers will also organize tours to important examples of campus and college planning in the city. A full calendar of events will be announced closer to the symposium date.
Abstracts are due on July 8, 2013. Abstract submissions must be between 300-350 words, and sent in PDF format by email to firstname.lastname@example.org . A submission will be considered registered only upon receipt of a confirmation message by the Organizing Committee.
An author may register with one individual paper, and one additional collective paper.
Submissions will be accepted only in the English language.
All submissions must be original, and never published. Abstracts will be evaluated for their adequacy to the proposed theme; originality; coherence and clarity of expression; quality of documental resources; and format.
All submissions will be evaluated by the Scientific Committee. Should an abstract be accepted, the author shall be notified and detailed formatting instructions will follow by email. Notice of acceptance will be delivered August 5, 2013
The final paper will be due not later than 11:59 PM EST on September 9, 2013. Papers should average between 2,500-4,000 words (notes and references not included in the word count). Submissions must be made exclusively in digital format, with a 5 MB maximum file size (images included).
Selected final papers will be published in symposium proceedings at the discretion of the Organizing Committee.
Conference Chair: Allan Shulman, Associate Professor
University of Miami School of Architecture
Jean-Francois Lejeune, Professor
University of Miami School of Architecture
Sonya de Long
Sarasota Architectural Foundation
July 8, 2013 – Deadline for abstracts
August 5, 2013 – Notification of acceptance
September 9, 2013 – Deadline for submission of final papers
October 25-26, 2013 – East West Dialogues Symposium –Tampa, Fl
Download the Call for Papers in PDF format