Friday, November 9, 2012
The Round Building, also known as the American Federal Savings and Loan, across from City Hall, will stand for just one more year before is is demolished to make way for the Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The building is still standing today because it is being used by the Doctor Phillips Center of the Performing Arts, Public Relations and Financing staff. The top floor offices have a magnificent view over the construction site.
The building took form back in the idealistic times when John F. Kennedy was elected President. Man was striving to reach the moon and this building took on the futuristic form of a cylinder. Orlando was just coming of age, as Disney and Martin Marietta set up shop. The honeycomb shaped cement band around the base of the building acted as a sun screen for the banks windows. This cement honeycomb, reminiscent of "The Carousel of Progress", is known as a Brise Soleil. The glass upper floors were added years later. Today, what is futuristic about the site is that curbside electric car charging stations are across the street.
Commissioner Patty Sheehan is spearheading a privately funded effort to save the Brise Soleil by re-purposing it as sculpture or a sun shield in a public park. A design competition was held that asked local architecture students to envision the re-purposing of the precast concrete curtain pieces. The winners of the competition were, Felix Chad and Jarod Lopatky for their submission "Reflections of Orlando." Their digital rendering showed the Brise Soleil in two pieces standing on end and separated as two identical semi circular arcs in a public park. The students were awarded $360 dollars for the concept.
Patty Sheehan formed the not-for-profit corporation, Strengthen Orlando, Inc. - Round Building Reuse, to raise funds to get the Brise Soleil moved and displayed somewhere in Orlando. She has pledged to match any donations made to the project up to $70,000.