New College of Florida and Architecture Sarasota Select Sweet Sparkman Architecture & Interiors as Winner of the “Reimagining Pei” Competition

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- by New College News


Sarasota, Fla. New College of Florida, in coordination with Architecture Sarasota, announces the winner of the Reimagining Pei architectural competition, selecting Sweet Sparkman Architecture & Interiors (Sarasota, USA). The competition culminated in a live presentation by three finalists on November 15 at Mildred Sainer Pavilion with more than 200 New College students, faculty, and staff joined by local community members.

The Sweet Sparkman proposal included innovative increases of pedestrian walking paths, enhancements for vehicular traversing of the campus, and a creative interpretation of redesigning the Palm Court. The designs preserved the traditional Pei designs while formulating a plan to surround the dorms with a world-class athletics complex. All three finalists used the recent launch of intercollegiate athletics at New College as inspiration to integrate visionary athletic complex designs into their final proposals. The finalist proposals and video of the live presentation are available online at

“New College appreciates the incredible efforts of all three finalists, the interest shown by the many firms that submitted initial responses to the request for qualifications, and the hundreds of members of our college community and local community that took time to give feedback in person and online,” said New College President Richard Corcoran.

The competition was launched to honor the work of renowned architect I.M. Pei who designed the iconic brutalist-style dormitories on New College’s East Campus (a.k.a. Pei Campus). New College tasked the firms with boldly transforming the structures as it develops an innovative and comprehensive future campus plan to include an athletic complex, retail and entertainment. Joining Sweet Sparkman in the field of finalists were Brooks+Scarpa (Los Angeles, USA) and STUDIOS Architecture (France and USA).

A distinguished committee of local and national members of the architecture community narrowed down exceptional portfolios of entrants in early September. All three finalists received a $10,000 honoraria from the New College Foundation, Inc. to develop their design concepts for the adaptive use of the dormitories on the Pei Campus. The quality of the conceptualization all three finalists provided demonstrated efforts far above and beyond the monetary value of the honoraria.

“Architecture Sarasota is grateful to all three finalists for their creativity and remarkable dedication in developing bold solutions for adapting and repurposing the Pei Dormitories” said Architecture Sarasota President Morris “Marty” Hylton III. “We would especially like to congratulate Sweet Sparkman Architecture & Interiors whose design concept proposes transforming and activating the Palm Court as a dynamic and versatile public space for both the New College campus and the larger Sarasota community. The Reimagining Pei competition demonstrated the power of design thinking in transforming places and inspiring people.”

The three finalists were firms with diverse practices based in sustainable and equitable design. Brooks+Scarpa is a Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award-winning firm in Los Angeles, California, known for its multidisciplinary ethos and innovative approach to material application in environmentally responsive designs that stretch across a variety of sectors; STUDIOS Architecture, recipient of one of eight Honor Awards at the 2022 GSA Design Awards, is an international architecture firm with six offices in France and the USA (the “Reimagining Pei” competition entry was submitted by the firm’s Washington, DC office), known for campus-scaled corporate, educational, and residential projects which boast original approaches to material sourcing, focused on upcycling and recycling; Sweet Sparkman Architecture & Interiors is a multi-award-winning Sarasota-headquartered firm with a two-decade track record of designing for the climate challenges specific to the city, specializing in community, commercial and residential architecture.

Architecture Sarasota will display the Reimagining Pei Challenge final design concepts at McCulloch Pavilion, 265 S. Orange Avenue beginning Wednesday, December 6. The building is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Reimagining Pei competition is separate from any from any future project. There is no guarantee of additional work, and any subsequent project will be subject to a separate public procurement process.