The entrance of the Warm Mineral Springs Motel, designed by Victor Lundy.

The entrance of the Warm Mineral Springs Motel, designed by Victor Lundy.

Credit: Joseph Scherschel


Modernist architecture, with its ample glass walls and flow of inside–outside space, seems made for warm weather, and few post–World War II architects have explored the possibilities of a mild climate more than Victor Lundy, FAIA. His Warm Mineral Springs Motel near Venice, Fla., cited in the 1958 P/A Awards program, blurs the boundaries between interior and exterior to an extent rarely seen before.

The U-shaped motel has a series of single-loaded rooms, entered from perimeter parking and overlooking a lushly planted courtyard. Above the rooms stand 14-foot-square, precast-concrete hyperbolic-paraboloid roofs that alter­nate in height. As originally constructed according to Lundy’s design, Plexiglas clerestories made the roofs appear to float, especially at night, with their undersides illuminated from within. “Designed to stop traffic,” Lundy said, the inverted roofs evoked the “fountain of youth” of the nearby warm mineral springs.

People relaxing in lounge chairs in courtyard at new resort motel w. parasol roof made of 75 concrete umbrellas joined w. plastic.  (Photo by A. Y. Owen//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

People relaxing in lounge chairs in courtyard at new resort motel with a parasol roof made of 75 concrete umbrellas joined with plastic.

Credit: A. Y. Owen/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images


Lundy used the different-height roofs to define various functions in each suite: lower ceilings above the entrance, beds, and dining area, and higher ceilings above the bathroom, sitting area, and kitchenette. Sliding glass doors connect each room to the courtyard, with vertically stacked concrete bricks, originally painted charcoal gray, enclosing the rooms. A suspended air-conditioner in each room dripped condensate into an interior planter bed, further blurring the distinction between inside and out.

Solid panels have since replaced the Plexiglas, through-the-wall air conditioners now cool the rooms, and the once-gray walls are white. But the inventiveness of Lundy’s motel still stops traffic, designed as it was by one of America’s most underappreciated postwar architects.

  • Parasol roof made of 75 concrete umbrellas joined w. plastic at new resort motel.  (Photo by A. Y. Owen//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

    Credit: A. Y. Owen/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Parasol roof made of 75 concrete umbrellas joined with plastic at new resort motel.
  • Overview of parasol roof fr. above, made of 75 concrete umbrellas joined w. plastic at new resort motel.  (Photo by A. Y. Owen//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

    Credit: A. Y. Owen/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Overview of parasol roof from above, made of 75 concrete umbrellas joined with plastic at new resort motel.

1958 P/A Awards Jury
Félix Candela
Arthur Davis
Henry Kamphoefner
Carl Koch
I.M. Pei, FAIA

  • Modern motel exterior view.  (Photo by Joseph Scherschel//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

    Credit: Joseph Scherschel/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Modern motel exterior view.
  • Modern motel interior view.  (Photo by Joseph Scherschel//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)

    Credit: Joseph Scherschel/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

    Modern motel interior view.