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Voters pick Walker House top residence

By Staff | Apr 27, 2012

PROVIDED The Walker Guest House on Sanibel was voted the top residential building in the AIA Florida's online contest.

Sanibel’s Walker Guest House won the favor of online voters as the top residential building in Florida during a month-long campaign by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

“I think it is good for the island,” said Joyce Owens of AIA Florida. “It serves as a nice reminder that there is great architecture on Sanibel.”

More than 2.4 million votes were cast in the Florida AIA Top 100 Buildings contest to mark its 100th anniversary. The 100 Years, 100 Places celebration coincides with Architecture Month as AIA Florida hosts several events through the summer and ending with the Anniversary Celebration Event on Dec. 14.

Miami’s Fountainebleau Hotel won the designation as top building overall as well as the top hotel category. The Walker House not only grabbed the top residential building honor, but was voted by architects as the No. 3 building in the state.

AIA Florida will present the award to the City of Sanibel at the next City Council meeting on May 1.

A mere 580 square feet, the Walker Guest House was designed by architect Paul Rudolph for a subtropical climate using minimum materials in a simple, elegant reinterpretation of a primitive hut meeting modern lifestyle. It was designed before air conditioning (1952) taking advantage of landscaping and its natural surroundings.

The Walker House still inspires others to learn from Rudolph’s experiments in sub-tropical lifestyles.

The top five buildings as voted by the public:

1. Fontainebleau Hotel (Miami Beach)

2. Mandi’s Chapel (Live Oak)

3. Baughman Center at the University of Florida (Gainesville)

4. The University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville)

5. Mar-a-Lago National Historic Landmark (Palm Beach)

Rankings for Southwest Florida buildings as voted by the public are:

12.Edison & Ford Winter Estates

29.Saint Agnes Catholic Church

30.Walker Guest House

33.Corban House/The Haldeman Creek House

77.Neugebauer House

Category winners are:

Performing Arts: Florida Theatre Building (Jacksonville)

Civic: Boca Raton Town Hall (Boca Raton)

Commercial: Espirito Santo Plaza (Miami)

Educational: University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville)

Historic: Mar-a-Lago National Historic Landmark (Palm Beach)

Hotel: Fontainebleau Hotel (Miami Beach)

Museum: Dali Museum (St. Petersburg)

Public Use: City Park Municipal Garage (Ft. Lauderdale)

Recreational: Cinderella Castle (Orlando)

Religious: Mandi’s Chapel (Live Oak)

Residential: Walker Guest House (Sanibel)

Write-In: Ponce de Leon Hotel/Flagler College (St. Augustine)

Architects’ Favorite: University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville).

The top five buildings as voted by architects:

1. The University of North Florida Student Union (Jacksonville)

2. Saint Paul’s By-The-Sea Episcopal Church (Jacksonville Beach)

3. Walker Guest House (Sanibel)

4. Beach Road 2 (Jupiter Island)

5. The Breakers Resort National Historical Landmark (Palm Beach)