An interview with Harold Bubil

April 5, 2019
By Marcy Shortuse

■ BY SUE ERWIN
Good architecture is made of commodity, firmness and delight, said author Harold Bubil when he gave a presentation called “Florida Buildings I Love” at the Boca Grande Community Center on Tuesday, April 2.
“This program is kind of a history lesson based on the Florida buildings I admire,” Bubil said. “It traces the arc of Florida development.”
Bubil has been coming to Boca Grande since he was a child.
“One of my favorite buildings in Boca Grande is Our Lady of Mercy Church, which was built in 1950 and designed by F. Burrall Hoffman, Jr.,” Bubil said. “The church was built through a gift by Mrs. Gertrude Hill Gavin – itself an impressive measure of love. In 1984, when he was pastor of St. Martha’s Church in Sarasota, Father Carosella celebrated the mass in which my wife and I were wed. In 2014, at Our Lady of Mercy, he presided over our 30th anniversary renewal of vows ceremony.”
Bubil said different areas of the state developed at different times, beginning in the panhandle.
He showed examples of buildings designed in St. Augustine in 1885, and compared them to Sarasota, which was not very developed at the time. Vernacular design was very popular when the city of Sarasota and the Southwest Florida Gulf coast began to grow.
“I have been mentored by a number of architects in my interviews over the years, and one of the best was Tim Seibert,” Bubil said. “Tim was very important to me. He was the same age as my father, and he always made time to talk with me … I always enjoyed visiting him here in Boca Grande and in Sarasota as well.”
After Seibert passed away in December of 2018, Bubil wrote a column for the Sarasota Herald Tribune and referred to him as “the lion of Sarasota architecture.”
Some of the other examples in his presentation included Flagler Cottage in St. Augustine, DeLand Hall at Stetson University, Bok Tower in Lakes Wales and the Railway Depot in Boca Grande.
“Architect Addison Meisner was famous for perfecting the Mediterranean revival styles in 1910,” Bubil said. “He would take a little piece from North Africa, a little from Spain, Greece and Italy and blend it all together.”
Bubil is the recently retired real estate editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. His first byline was in 1974. He is a graduate of the University of Florida journalism school, and while he has no formal training in architecture, his informal training includes hundreds of interviews with leading architects in Sarasota and around Florida.
In 2015 he received the Bob Graham Architectural Awareness Award from the Florida-Caribbean chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In 2017 he was granted the Gold Award from the National Association of Real Estate Editor’s for the nation’s best residential real estate story of 2016. He moved to Sarasota as a child, so he’s witnessed personally the growth of the area. While his passion is architecture, he also likes development history and green building.
Visit bocagrandehistoricalsociety.com for more information.