Creativity is the focus of the Herald-Tribune’s third architectural “marketplace of ideas.”
“The purpose of construction is to make things hold together; of architecture, to move us,” said the famous Swiss architect Le Corbusier (1888-1965).
And that requires creativity, on the part of the architect as well as the other stakeholders in the construction process — the owner, the contractor, the engineer and others.
“Creativity” will be the theme when the Herald-Tribune, building on the success of the 2016 and 2017 ArchiFest events, presents Archifest 2018, an architectural marketplace of ideas, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at 1741 Main St. in Sarasota. Admission is free for the public.
The event will include drawings for “Lunch With an Architect,” featuring Sweet Sparkman Architects principal Jerry Sparkman, AIA, with host Harold Bubil, at a fine downtown Sarasota restaurant; and “An Hour With an Interior Designer,” featuring Archifest participant Carol Cooper, ASID. Cooper will answer questions, provide design advice, sketch ideas and assist in helping solve challenging interior design and decorating problems.
Real estate brokerage Michael Saunders & Co. and Kolter Urban, developer of The Vue Sarasota and The Mark condominiums, are the presenting sponsors. Solstice Architects is the booth sponsor.
The event is designed to bring together architects and the public to talk about the community’s built environment. Those who are thinking of building may find an architect. Designers and select custom builders may find clients.
And those who have an interest in the art and craft of architecture will have the opportunity to listen to panel discussions, with Q&A sessions, that will focus on how architects, in their role as problem-solvers, make the “delight” that sets architect-designed buildings apart.
Creativity and/or collaboration
“You cannot teach people to be creative. You can create environments that encourage creativity,” said the famed modernist architect Paul Rudolph (1918-1997). The centennial of his birth is being celebrated this year by the Sarasota Architectural Foundation.
But architect Jerry Sparkman of Sweet Sparkman Architects emphasizes that creativity “is not the sole responsibility of the architect. It is enjoyed by many (in the construction process), and that is as it should be.”
“Creativity is an inherently human trait to be nurtured,” said University of Florida architecture professor Martin Gold. “Architecture is a rare profession that offers the opportunity to nurture creativity.”
But it also requires teamwork, especially today, among the various professionals on a construction team.
“Howard Roark would be hungry today,” said Sparkman, referring to the individualistic protagonist in the Ayn Rand fictional novel “The Fountainhead.” Played by Gary Cooper in the 1949 film, he famously said, “My work done my way.”
University of South Florida architecture professor Michael Halflants said times have changed.
“Today, good architecture can be created only by a team of passionate Howard Roarks,” Halflants said. “In my office, I generally set the overall design approach, but the team members who detail the project and execute it through construction have to be as uncompromisingly committed to the design outcome for the project to be a success.”
Lone-wolf architects like Roark still exist, said Gold, but so does his chief opponent, the conformist newspaper critic Ellsworth Toohey.
“Collaboration seems to be at the core of design success in recent years,” Gold said. “And, it takes the right team, typically with a leader who is more of a conductor (vision, inspiration and guidance) as opposed to an egotist.
“In my world, Howard Roark has always been a conductor bringing the best ideas together for an architecture of his time.”
“Some still admire and desire that singular outlook,” Sparkman said, “but it is a more interesting world if you imagine that you are not the only one with a good solution or a creative way.”
Desire plays as important a role as any intangible factor in the development of creative talent, Halflants said.
“Creativity stems more from a force of will than from innate abilities,” he said. “You have to work at your art and continually strive to improve. Like a hound dog, you have to keep focused on the task and follow a trail to its ultimate destination. I find that the vast majority of my students, if fully committed, have the ability to excel.”
At Archifest, architects, builders and designers will discuss how they put these beliefs into action during panel discussions.
Participating architects, landscape architects, interior designers and contractors who work with architects will have display tables to show their work and answer questions from the public.
Panel topics will be focused on the design process — for new construction, renovations, restorations, landscape architecture and site planning. The relationships with clients will be emphasized.
The tentative lineup of panel discussions includes intermissions in which attendees can meet with participants at the vendor booths:
• 10:15: “Could Howard Roark Thrive Today? Collaboration vs. individualism, and which works best for creativity?”
• 11:15: “The Art of Architecture: Is there still room for delight in a world fixated on commodity?”
• 12:15: “The Value of Architecture in the Real Estate Market: Do architect-designed homes sell for more?”
• 1:15: “The Unforeseen Problem: How creativity helps architects in their primary role as problem-solvers.”
• 2:15: “Creativity in the Curriculum: Teaching Talent.”
As of press time for this story, the lineup of participants includes booth sponsor Jonathan Parks, AIA, of Solstice Architects; Gary Hoyt, AIA, of Hoyt Architects; Michael Halflants, AIA, of Halflants + Pichette Studio for Modern Architecture; Max Strang, FAIA, Jerry Sparkman, AIA; Todd Sweet, AIA; Mark Sultana, AIA, of DSDG; Jedd Heap , AIA, and Chris Leader, AIA, of Leader Design Studio; Javi Suarez, AIA, of Apex-Studio Suarez; Carol Cooper, ASID, of Cooper Modern Design; Josh Wynne of Wynne Construction; Dean Brennaman, AIA; the Center for Architecture Sarasota; and Christopher Wilson, Ph.D., of the Sarasota Architectural Foundation; AIA Florida Gulf Coast.