Three UK practices make it onto stellar longlist for Florida arts centre

The Bay Park Conservancy Conceptual Masterplan — Approved by the Sarasota City Commission in September 2018.

Originally published by Architects Journal.

Adjaye Associates, Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects have been chosen to submit proposals for a new $300 million performance and arts centre in south Florida.

The UK practices were invited to submit designs for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Centre, along with 15 other practices from countries including the USA, Denmark and Italy.

Four to six proposals will be shortlisted from the 18 chosen designs before a winning scheme is announced in May 2023.

Sarasota and the Van Wezel Foundation, the future operators of the $300 million building, have asked practices to draw up plans for a 15,500m² venue.

The brief includes a main stage with seating capacity of 2,200, flexible performance space and educational areas.

It also includes outdoors areas and ‘technology that will allow performances to be simulcast into the park’ next to the main building.

The chosen finalists will present their plans to the city and members of public before May 2023, when the winning architect is expected to be chosen.

Renzo Piano Building Workshop, Safdie Architects and Steven Holl Architects are among the competing practices that will also draw up visions for the venue.

City of Sarasota manager Marlon Brown said: ‘These applicants represent the best of the best firms from around the world, having designed some of the most world-renowned institutions across the globe’.

The competition see 40 practices from around the world enter the contest to design the new arts centre, which will replace the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The hall – designed by William Wesley Peters, son of Frank Lloyd Wright – is Sarasota’s main arts and performance venue but is considered at risk of flooding.

A decision on the future of the 60-year-old structure will be made at a later date in a separate process to the plans for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Centre.


  • Adjaye Associates (UK)
  • Arquitectonica (USA)
  • Diamond Schmitt (Canada)
  • Diller Scofidio + Renfro (USA)
  • Foster + Partners (UK)
  • Gehry Partners (USA)
  • Henning Larsen (Denmark)
  • Pelli Clarke & Partners (USA)
  • Renzo Piano Building Workshop (Italy)
  • Rex (USA)
  • Safdie Architects (USA)
  • Sanaa (Japan)
  • Shigeru Ban Architects (Japan)
  • Snøhetta (Norway)
  • Steven Holl Architects (USA)
  • Studio Gang (USA)
  • Studios Architecture (USA)
  • Zaha Hadid Architects (UK)

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