In Florida, Modern to the Core

People / Places / Products / May 10, 2010

Sometimes, the smartest thing a writer can do is get out of the way.

That’s what Saxon Henry did with her new book, “Four Florida Moderns,” and the tactic’s paid off handsomely.

Though she interviewed architects Alberto Alfonso, Rene Gonzalez, Chad Oppenheim and Guy Peterson, she chose not to inject her own narrative into the descriptions of their work. Instead, she relied on a pure question and answer format.

“I realized that it was a way to show a little more of their processes,” she said. “Otherwise, I would have edited them, and wouldn’t have gotten it.”

She’s a seasoned author who’s written on architecture and design for The New York Times and The Miami Herald, as well as for Interior Design, Traditional Home, Interiors and Modernism magazines. She also co-authored a book, “Big Home, Big Challenge,” in 2003.

For “Four Florida Moderns,” she recruited major league talent for essays and analyses, with contributions from Charles Gwathmey, Richard Meier, Terence Riley, Warren R. Schwartz and Robert McCarter.

Loaded with lush, crisp photography of the four Florida architects’ trailblazing work, the book is a visual tour and thoughtful examination of tropical modernism as it’s practiced today.

Saxon said she admires Alfonso’s skill at merging art and architecture through a fluid, painterly approach to his designs. Gonzalez, she said, experiments to get the most out of the materials he uses. Oppenheim is fearless in his pursuit of an organic architecture, and Peterson’s contemplative, planned use of natural light is unparalleled, she said.

And they are all modern to the core. “Their passion runs so deep – their work is not just about how a building looks, but about the creative process too.”

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Michael Welton

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1 Comment

on June 7, 2010

The AIA convention is in town (I saw the banners up at the convention center yesterday) and I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how wonderful it was to be featured on your site, Mike! An honor truly. I so appreciate you spreading the word about these talented architects and their work. They are truly so passionate about modernism and it was an honor to be able to bring their philosophies to a broader audience.

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