An Architecture Firm Makes A Home In A Midcentury Sarasota Building


“It seems as though we’ve always been destined to have our office at the BOTA (Boulevard of the Arts) Center,” says Hive Architects principal Joe Kelly, of the company’s Sarasota, Florida, digs in a 1950s former Baker Badcock Furniture Showroom.

Ten years ago, when he and his wife/partner, Gwen, used to carpool to work, they would drive past the abandoned midcentury building, occasionally stopping to peek in the windows and envision it as their professional base of operations. Serendipitously, in 2015 Gwen began working with a local developer to breathe new life into the edifice; several tenant build-outs in, the couple decided to fulfill their dream.

“Our design studio is strongly rooted in collaboration, so we created an open floor plan to generate our creative philosophy through interaction between team members,” Kelly notes.

With its exposed post and beam structure, authentic terrazzo floors, thin aluminum window frames and oversize glazing, the building proved an ideal platform for the materiality of the design studio’s simple wood panels, hot rolled steel elements and frameless glass partitions that define the work areas.

“A space that has been tailored to your every need is not something we’ve experienced before,” says Kelly. “Our office is now an asset to our practice, facilitating our desired work environment and accounting for our functional and aesthetic desires.”