A new international design competition is the 'one chance' left to save the Riverview School in Sarasota, Florida - one of Paul Rudolph's most high-profile buildings - it has been claimed.
John McAslan has told the AJ that only a global contest will spare the 1958 school - a leading example of the architect's 'Sarasota Modern' period - from the wrecking ball.
The building's owner, the Sarasota County School Board (SCSB), has said that funds are now in place to raze it to the ground to make way for a Perkins & Will-designed school and 1,000-space car park.
Although the Twentieth Century Society and architectural heavyweights including Richard Rogers and Norman Foster - both of whom were tutored by Rudolph - have been vocal in their opposition to the proposed demolition, McAslan said he had now implemented firm steps to ensure the design competition took place.
Currently being drawn up by the school board and Californian competition organiser Bill Liskamm, the design competition will be launched in July. 'Now is the time,' said McAslan. 'This is the one chance to make something happen.
'Without blowing our own trumpet, we have made this happen. When I went to see [SCSB] it was all over the place,' he added.
However, while the competition details are yet to be confirmed and despite describing SCSB's proposed demolition plans as 'ludicrous' and 'madness', McAslan applauded the SCSB's move to set up a foundation to save the building.
He said: 'There is no point drawing swords and fighting the board. It has said it wants to save the building if there is a way to do so without incurring cost.'
McAslan said he hoped the competition would be won by a developer-led team and added that he believed the winning scheme should be incorporated within the existing Rudolph school.
He said: 'To me that is what must happen. It is not that difficult. The key part of the school is the courtyard and the classic view from under the arcade.
'It has been expanded greatly since Rudolph's original and should be consolidated to the key core.'by Max Thompson