SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2022 8:30am – 12:00pm

Tropical Modernism: Climate & Design

MOD 2022 Symposium

Education Partner:

Why does architecture look the way it does? What drives design decisions?

Moderator Morris Hylton III will lead our symposium participants in examining these central questions. Hylton’s own work focuses on adaptive strategies for historic properties as they are increasingly challenged by climate change and thus offers important insight into design practices and their viability in a changing world. Dr. Daniel Barber’s talk on thermal practices will look at architecture in the tropics before and after the arrival of air conditioning, with examples from Brazil, Puerto Rico, Florida and West Africa. Dr. Vandana Baweja will explore the ways in which vernacular architecture was appropriated by colonial powers to establish the ideals of tropical modernist architecture.  Robert Rubin will share his tale of rescuing Jean Prouvé’s Maison Tropicale from the Brazzaville jungle to establishing its current home in Paris at the Centre Pompidou. Dr. Sonia Chao will chronicle the long-established design conversation between Florida and Cuba, with special focus on Arthur Browning Parker, Nicolas Quintana, Mario Romañach and Paul Rudolph. Dr. Christopher Wilson will demonstrate how our own Sarasota School of Architecture practitioners embodied a form of critical regional tropical modernism that went on to span the globe. Throughout all of the talks, we’ll see a wide range of “tropical modernisms,” and learn more about how humans have lived and adapted to the challenges of living in the “torrid zone.”

Speakers: Daniel A. Barber, Vandana Baweja, Sonia Chao, Robert Rubin, Christopher Wilson
Moderator: Morris Hylton III

Marty Hylton

Marty Hylton III serves as the inaugural Historic Architect for Climate Change at the National Park Service’s Climate, Disaster and Response Program. He has worked in the area of disaster recovery and design resilience since assisting communities impacted by Hurricane Katrina through the World Monuments Fund. He created the University of Florida Envision Heritage research initiative to develop approaches for digitally documenting and assessing the vulnerability of cultural resources, especially those threatened by sea level rise and flooding.

Daniel Barber

Dr. Daniel Barber is a Professor at the University of Technology in Sydney. His work focusses on the intersection of environmental technologies relative to Modernism and evolving climate strategies relative to design practice. He is author of Modern Architecture and Climate: Design Before Air Conditioning and A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War.

Vandana Baweja

Dr. Vandana Baweja is an Associate Professor at University of Florida. Trained as an architect and historian in New Delhi and London, Dr. Baweja’s research areas include global histories of Tropical Architecture, histories of Sustainable Architecture, and their representation in film and photography.

Robert Rubin

Robert M. Rubin is a curator and historian. He is the editor of Richard Prince: Cowboy (2020), curator of Richard Prince: American Prayer and author of An Architecture of Making, chronicling Calder’s studio spaces on two sides of the Atlantic, Saché and Roxbury. A preservationist collector and polymath scholar, he writes and thinks at the intersection of art, music, design, film and history.

Sonia Chao

Dr. Sonia Chao is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami. Her work focusses on the area of sustainable architecture, resilient design, and historic preservation. She is on the Executive Board of the Florida Climate Institute and is the author of Under the Sun: Traditions and Innovations in Sustainable Architecture and Urbanism in the Sub-Tropics.

Christopher Wilson

Dr. Christopher S. Wilson serves as scholar-in-residence for Architecture Sarasota, as well faculty at Ringling College of Art + Design in Sarasota, FL. Dr. Wilson contributed to a monograph on Victor Lundy, and a chapter on the Women of the Sarasota School for The Women Who Changed Architecture. He is co-author of the forthcoming Reframing Berlin: Architecture, Memory-Making and Film Locations with Intellect Books (UK).