Historic Designation

Nokomis Beach Pavilion

Source: City of Sarasota public records
Photo Credit: Sarasota County History Center
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Sarasota History - Nokomis Beach Pavilion photo

The Nokomis Beach Pavilion was built in 1954 to serve as Sarasota County's first beach pavilion. Designed by architect Jack West, a prominent member of the Sarasota School of Architecture, the pavilion and associated plaza provide a classic example of the minimalist forms associated with mid-century modern architecture. The complex consists of an open pavilion and a building which originally housed restrooms, changing rooms, and showers, both of which are connected by a covered walkway. In addition the site included an expansive paved plaza with a planting area and fountain. Elements of these structures typical of the Sarasota School of Architecture include flat thin roofs on multiple planes, ribbon windows, a design that creates a strong interplay between interior and exterior spaces, and a bathhouse built of stacked Ocala block.

Over time, this facility has suffered from deferred maintenance as well as insensitive renovations. For example, in an effort to cut down on the need for frequent painting, the thin posts were boxed in with concrete block that was then stuccoed, significantly affecting the delicacy of the design. Additionally, the continuous exposure of the pavilion to salt air has resulted in the expansion of metal components and failure of a portion of the roof system which in turn resulted in the eventual collapse of a section of the pavilion ceiling recently. The Pavilion is being restored and will receive it's official dedication in the upcoming months.

Jack West

Born in Illinois in 1922, Jack West served in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. Afterwards, he attended Yale University School of Architecture, where he was awarded his Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1949. After graduation from Yale, Jack West traveled to Sarasota to find out more about the sleek, modern buildings that were being designed here by the architectural firm of Twitchell and Rudolph. West worked periodically with Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph, first as a draftsman, and then later, after passing the Florida Architectural Board exams in 1950, as an architect. In 1951 West resigned from the firm of Twitchell and Rudolph to open his own firm.

After a brief period of time working in southern California, Jack West returned to Sarasota and his own practice. From 1953 to 1954, after Paul Rudolph opened his won practice, Jack West formed a partnership with Ralph Twitchell. In 1956 West formed a partnership with architect Beth Waters, the firm of West and Water lasted until 1960. West designed the Englewood Elementary School Addition, and the Fruitville Elementary School Addition with Bolton McBride. In 1957, the firm of West and Waters in partnership with Bolton McBride, an experienced school architect practicing in Fort Myers, designed additions to Tuttle and Fruitville Elementary Schools. Working with Terry Rowe, a local interior designer, West designed the Courtyard House, on Bird Key, which won the Homes for Better Living Award. In 1965, West designed Sarasota City Hall and formed an association with Rolland W. Sellew to do U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development work. In 1966, West formed architecture and engineering partnerships with Al Conyers. The firm of West and Conyers/Architects and Engineers lasted well into the 1990s.

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