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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 2 months ago

Winter Park's History & Architecture

In Casa Feliz’s upcoming “Parlor Series,” experts will examine the many important aspects of quality architecture.
by: Troy Herring Associate Editor

What makes a city, a city?

You’ll get a wide variety of answers depending on whom you ask, but there’s one that many may leave out — the architecture.

Every design aspect of a building is thoroughly considered and reflective of the architect’s style, the area, and even the time that it was built. The varying aspects of architecture itself can be seen as a physical representation of the city and its residents.

As a measure to help educate residents of Winter Park on the importance of architecture, Casa Feliz is putting on its annual “Parlor Series” starting this month.

“I really think you have to look at our mission, and part of that is educating people about historic preservation and doing those kind of activities,” said Susan Omoto, the new executive director at Casa Feliz. “It fits our educational perspective in terms of architecture design, preservation, and all the pieces that fit into what we are here for.”

The series itself has been around 15 years now, becoming a staple in the educational programs that have been offered by the Friends of Casa Feliz, which has operated the historic home since 2002.

Currently, there are four events planned that will span between now and November and will generally occur on the third Tuesday of each month.

Each of the four programs will offer insight into the specifics of architectural design — from the importance of good design to the actual design history of Winter Park.

“What we wanted to revive this year was the notion of being able to have conversations about architectural design and urban design, so that’s how it came about,” said Richard Reep, a board member of the Friends of Casa Feliz.

The series will kick off Aug. 22 with “The Role of Archutecture in Historic Preservation.” 

Hosted by Reep, the program will feature lectures by Stephanie Ferrell, founder of Ferrell Redevelopment in Tampa, and Maureen Kemp, owner of Kemp Realty Group in DeLand, who will discuss the role of quality architectural design in historic preservation.

It will be an exciting start to the series, because the program will be mixing it up a bit and going beyond the usual focus of preservation, Reep said.

 “That should be an exciting kickoff to this, because Casa Feliz has usually been focused only on historic preservation, but this year we are going to branch into notions of what is good design,” Reep said. “So we will have two speakers next (program) that talk about good design — one of them is going to discuss Frank Lloyd Wright and another will discuss global architecture.”

Reep will even play a role in the third program and will give a presentation on the design history of Winter Park.

Following each program, a Q&A will be held, so attendees can ask experts questions regarding the night’s topic — exploring a little more deeply into the realm of architecture.


 “(The Parlor Series) fits our educational perspective in terms of architecture design, preservation, and all the pieces that fit into what we are here for.”



— Susan Omoto

Helping the community better understand architecture — and its role in society — will allow for a better-educated and aware populace, Reep said.

 “If you go to Chicago, for example, the average Chicago citizen in public school has had at least four courses about the history of Chicago’s architecture,” Reep said. “So they can tell you about their buildings, they take pride in their city, (and) they take better care of their city.”

The other perks of having a city that truly concentrates on the architectural aesthetics within its limits, Reep said, is that it helps the economy by bringing in new business, while simultaneously building up the city’s image.

“It’s more authentic and gives a community a more specific, local character,” Reep said.

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