The Public Symposium “Modern Architecture as Place-Making in Florida” was held at the The Historic Thomas Center, on Sunday, February 7, 2016, with around 75 in attendance. The symposium was organized by  Vandana Baweja, Assistant Professor, School​ of Architecture; Martha Kohen, Professor, School of Architecture, University of Florida; and John Nemmers, Archivist for the Architecture Archives at UF.

The event​ was well attended by professionals, members of the community, home owners who live in modernist houses, and UF faculty. This was a collaborative project between the College of Design, Construction, and Planning and the George A. Smathers Libraries at the University of Florida (UF).

The purpose of the symposium titled, “Modern Architecture as Place-Making in Florida,” was to engage the general public in a dialogue on Florida’s rich and unique legacy of modern architecture, the significance of modern architecture in Florida’s history, and the importance of the state’s modernist buildings in global architectural histories. As part of UF’s commitment to public engagement, goal of this symposium was to foster a dialogue between the scholarly community, non-academic professionals, and the communities of the larger North Florida region.

The presenters included: Vandana Baweja; Maria R. Estorino Dooling, Vice President for Museum Collections at HistoryMiami Museum; Morris Hylton III, Director of Historic Preservation Program; Martha Kohen; Murray D. Laurie, Historic Preservation Professional, Gainesville; Gene Leedy, FAIA; John Nemmers; Guy Peterson, FAIA; Office for Architecture (OFA); Virginia Price, President of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians; Kenneth Treister, FAIA, via prior recorded interview with Martha Kohen; Richard Shieldhouse, PhD,  Vice President, InterVISTAS Consulting; and Allan Shulman, FAIA, Associate Professor, University of Miami, School of Architecture. The moderators included: David Forest, Executive Director, Gainesville Modern; Janet Snyder Matthews, PhD, Director, Academics and Research UF Historic St. Augustine, Inc.; Patrisha L. Meyers, Director, Brevard Museum of History and Natural Science and The Florida Historical Society Archaeological Institute; Rebecca Nagy, PhD, Director, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art; Glenda Puente, Chapter President of DoCoMoMo US/Florida; Sarit Sela, Project Manager, Gainesville Community Redevelopment Agency; and Gilda Santana, Head, Architecture Library, Art & Art History Librarian, University of Miami.The symposium was funded by grants from the Florida Humanities Council and Center for Humanities and The Public Sphere. In addition, the symposium was sponsored by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville Modern, and the Historic Preservation Program at the DCP. Diane Wakeman from the Florida Humanities Council also attended the event.

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