Balcony of an I.M. Pei–designed dormitory at New College in Sarasota, Fla.
courtesy New College Foundation Balcony of an I.M. Pei–designed dormitory at New College in Sarasota, Fla.

Today, the New College of Florida officially launched "Reimagining Pei," a design contest focused on revamping the Sarasota school's three I.M. Pei–designed dormitories. Hosted in collaboration with local not-for-profit Architecture Sarasota, the program asks professionals to submit adaptive-reuse proposals for the Brutalist residence halls. The buildings, originally dreamed up by the acclaimed Modernist in 1963 and built two years later, are the only ones Pei ever designed in Florida. Ideally, according to the college, the transformed structures will be integrated into a new complex on the school's East campus that will include athletic facilities, restaurants, and retail space.

“New College values what these structures represent to thousands but also recognizes that the current condition of the dorms makes complete renovation costs prohibitive if not impossible,” said Richard Corcoran, New College's interim president, in a press release. “New College believes preservation is possible if viewed through the lens of change."

Aerial view of Pei Dormitories at New College.
courtesy New College Foundation Aerial view of Pei Dormitories at New College.

Accepting entries now through Sept. 1, the competition will be judged by representatives from New College in consultation with Architecture Sarasota. Three finalists will be selected on Sept. 8, with each receiving $10,000 to refine their designs. The winning scheme will be announced on Nov. 17.

“Adaptive reuse has always been in New College’s DNA, with the school adapting two historic bayfront mansions on the Ringling Estate as a library, classrooms, and faculty offices, among other uses, at its founding,” said Morris Hylton III, the president of Architecture Sarasota, in the same release. “Our hope is that in addition to continuing this legacy of reuse, the 'Reimagining Pei' challenge will begin a new chapter in future campus design at New College; one that upholds architecture as a tool to create a greater sense of unity within the college and the wider community in which its campus is embedded.”