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  • | 11:00 a.m. September 1, 2017
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The Finish Tower at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota was built for big rowing events hosted at the park, managed by the nonprofit Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates. The list of events includes a big one: the 2017 World Rowing Championships, scheduled for Sept. 23 to Oct. 1.

Architect Guy Peterson designed the Finish Tower, and Lakewood Ranch-based Fawley Bryant served as architect of record. With rules and regulations for rowing buildings set by international rowing governing body FISA, Peterson says he had to learn about specific standards for everything from size and height to visibility.

The final result, Peterson says, is a glass box that cantilevers out toward the racecourse. Including the ground floor and roof, the tower stands six stories high. From the roof, Peterson says people can see downtown Sarasota — several miles away. During races, FISA representatives, media and members of the public will use the tower to watch events.

“The site is so powerful,” Peterson says. “It's such a big open space. The way the building takes advantage of the setting gives it a stature I'm really proud of.”

• Project: Finish Tower at Nathan Benderson Park
• Builder: Construction division of Benderson Development Co.
• Architect: Sarasota-based Guy Peterson designed the building; Lakewood Ranch-based Fawley Bryant was the architect of record.
• Location: 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota
• Start Date: Groundbreaking in August 2015
• Completion Date: July 2017, with ongoing improvements continuing
to be made
• Value: $5.8 million
• Size: Indoor space is about 9,000 square feet across all floors; outside space includes 6,300 square feet on the ground level, 4,600 square feet on the second level and a 2,600-square-foot roof.
• Challenges: The Finish Tower wasn't built as a static monument to rowing. “It's not just about design, it's about functionality,” says Peterson. From the tower, he says, “you can see up and down the entire racecourse.”
The building won an Honor award from the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects in 2016, which Peterson says is “not just a beauty contest” but speaks to a building's ability to “react to the site” and how well it “solves the problem you set out to solve.”
• Green: Peterson says the building exhibits several features that represent energy-efficient design. That includes the high-performance patterned, fretted glass used, which filters out light, and the way the frame of the tower protects the glass.


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