Sarasota seems to be making a place for itself in the era of
the vestigial entrance. A fair number of our new buildings,
residential and commercial, incorporate entrance structures
that are not likely to see much use. Some of the town houses
fronting on Fruitville Rd. abut tiny, perpetually deserted sidewalks
not likely to see many passengers discharged from the crush
of Fruitville traffic. And Whole Foods made its feelings known
about Duany walkability in general and city bus passengers in
particular by turning its back on everything but its own parking
list goes on. The lovely glass medical building on South Tamiami
near Bahia Vista felt obliged to build a grand entrance structure
even though all of its traffic comes from the rear parking lot.
Likewise, the new office building at Ringling and Orange with
its grecian skull cap boasts a miniature and thoroughly deserted
rotunda. [Working hypothesis: the less effective a structure
the more likely it will be festooned with pillars.]
importance of entrance passages is well known. From the simple
pile of stones in front of thatched huts to the grand halls
of the aristocracy and nouveau riche, they indicate a transition
from not mine to mine, and therefore the inauguration of new
rules of privilege and deference, tolerance and courtesy.
our lifetime, New York City dramatically changed its ambiance
by insisting that the ground floor of massive buildings recognize
the public aspect of their use even though title to the dirt
may be privately held. More often than not the result has been
a spectacular infusion of city life.
of the early big box stores enlisted architects who took the
problem seriously. A key player was the SITE group [Sculpture
in the Environment] and its projects for the Best Products stores,
one which moved the entrance doors way out into the parking
lot where they stood in splendid isolation yards away from a
building that seemed to have no access point at all. It was
a prescient moment.
conventional architecture has reattached the entrance doors
to the building but failed to add any purpose. And perhaps that
is why the honesty of the Whole Foods approach seems so brutal.
When someone turns away it certainly warms the chill if they
have a smiley face painted on the back of their head.