The Baughman Center and the University Auditorium have been nominated as two of Florida’s “Top 100 Buildings” by the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects. The Florida State Museum and Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity House were also nominated.
“It’s an honor to have two of [UFPA’s] facilities nominated for Florida’s Top 100 Buildings,” UFPA director Michael Blachly said. “Each of these two buildings, in their own right, is an aesthetic work of architecture reflecting on its location on the University of Florida campus.”
The two buildings have the chance to be named the No. 1 building in the state. Beginning March 5, there will be a state-wide survey on the AIA Florida website to choose the No. 1 building of Florida.
Travertine marble floors, wood-paneled ceiling and huge arched windows that look out onto the peaceful Lake Alice—the Baughman Center often plays host to weddings and memorial services.
When they first started construction on the center, John Zona, the designer, spent a week in the location to observe the surroundings.
“During that week, we saw how the sun came up and went down,” Zona said. “It’s traditional of cathedrals to have a rising sun on the front and the setting sun on the back. The proximity of the site made it possible to honor that tradition.”
Located next to the landmark Century Tower, the University Auditorium is used for a variety of events, including concerts, club meetings and special guest lecturers.
It was completed in 1924, and features wood carvings of an athlete, scholar, musician and engineer. It is also home to the Anderson Memorial Pipe Organ. There is a concert stage with seating for about 850, and the Friends of Music room is used for receptions.
In 1976, the auditorium was expanded in a bicentennial project. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
“It’s an honor for people using the spaces to know that they’re in venues that are highly esteemed,” Blachly said.
-RR, photos Aaron Bailey and Ray Carson