Paul Rudolph is one of the most prominent representatives of American architecture of the second half of the 20th century, he is one of the founders of the stylistic trend of brutalism. He is called the head of the Sarasota school of architecture, and the significance of his early work for the entire southeastern region of the United States can hardly be overestimated. It should also be noted that this ensemble is the first large building of Rudolf (before that he designed only private residential buildings).
Riverview School is an example of a successful formal solution, combined with a focus on the rational use of resources in the operation of the building, which was rare in the 1950s. The buildings are located around a spacious courtyard in the middle of a pine grove. Opposed to the verticals of the trees, the buildings are low but graceful. Rudolph used in his project the principle applied in the traditional residential architecture of the Middle East: cool air enters the room from darkened terraces, and, when heated, exits through the windows under the roof. Thus, the school did not need an air conditioning system. The glazed surfaces of the walls were protected from overheating by concrete screens.
Since the construction of the Riverview, these screens have been dismantled, a bulky air conditioning system has been added, and many windows have been laid. As a result, interiors have become dark and uncomfortable; due to the negligence of the local education department, renovation work had not been carried out for a long time, and the school was also perceived as dilapidated and dirty.
As a result, after numerous complaints from teachers and parents of students, the Sarasota authorities decided to build a new school next to the Rudolph building according to the project of the local workshop "BMK Architects", and, when it was ready, to demolish the old complex and in its place arrange a parking lot for teachers' cars and students. With the school's plans only recently leaked to the general public, Florida's architectural heritage advocates were too late to act and were unable to succeed with their appeal, despite Norman Foster's open letter of support.
This story once again makes one recall the problem of the importance of modern architecture in the process of the historical development of mankind and the measures to preserve those monuments that, being very "young" in comparison with the Gothic or Renaissance buildings, have significant cultural value.