Thursday, Nov. 1 – The Last Go-Round
The Round Building
455 S. Orange Ave.
Among the many controversies swirling around the downtown performing arts center, none is quite so tragically unnecessary as the demolition of one of Orlando’s few 1960s architectural gems. The round American Federal Building across from City Hall is a fine example of midcentury building techniques, designed by Orlando architect Bob Murphy, who trained under Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius; its latticed curtain wall of precast pale concrete modules is both playful and austere. (We won’t speak of the multistory glass addition plopped on in the early ’70s that turned it into a top-heavy earth-tone cake.) This “happy hour in the round,” hosted by Central Florida Modern and Nils M. Schweizer Fellows, may be the last chance to tour a rare Florida landmark that isn’t shaped like a gator or housing a mouse, and as well as the guided tour, there will be food, drink and a first viewing of concepts from local architecture students for creative reuse of the 120 cast-concrete panels. One wishes the DPAC visionaries could have seen their way to incorporate this historically significant space instead of simply razing it, but at least the pieces may be reborn elsewhere. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. – Jessica Bryce Young