Welcome to the latest issue of Sweet Sparkman | In Detail, in which we share insights into the art of architecture, a look at some of our projects, and news about our staff and organization. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into our practice and the many directions our profession takes us. As always, if there’s a particular project or topic you’d like us to address, let us know. We want “In Detail” to be a forum for enthusiasts of all things architecture and interior design, as well as those merely curious about the process.

Now Showing:

Our Video of Sarasota County Fire Station #13

The design of Fire Station #13 came with a challenge – the limited size of the lot on which it would sit. That challenge was met with a unique, 10,500 sq. ft., two-story structure that doubled the size of the original station and incorporated living space for nearly triple the number of first responders. Guiding principles, according to lead architect Todd Sweet, were durability, sustainability, and livability, with a nod to history and smooth incorporation into the built environment of nearby Siesta Key Park and its Pavilion, also designed by Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors.

The first story houses bays for a fire truck and ambulance, as well as an ATV to respond to incidents on the beach. Also on that level are the decontamination room and storage areas. Upstairs are living quarters, with amenities that include separate bunk rooms, fitness area, office space, day room, a kitchen with a stove that shuts off automatically when the alarm sounds, a dining area, and a lanai. Stairs and a fire pole connect the two levels, and bricks from the original structure were used as accents to the sleek design.

To learn more, watch our video and visit our website to see project photos and details.

A Fond Farewell

Our Fall intern takes her leave

We recently said goodbye to our fall 2021 intern, Amiah Heard, as she headed back to the University of Cincinnati to complete her Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. While at Sweet Sparkman, she worked on renderings for the Southern Manatee Fire Rescue #2 and the Circus Arts Conservatory, a physical model of an existing Longboat Key residence, and virtual models for the current Tara Elementary School. She also participated in programming and creating a virtual model for the Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition. Not only a talented architecture student, Amiah also is a freelance artist, with artwork exhibited in her hometown of Middletown, OH. We appreciate her hard work and are pleased that she left Florida excited to apply all she learned in her ongoing education.

A Warm Welcome

Sweet Sparkman continues to expand its talent base

As 2021 ended, our staff continued to grow with the addition of Project Manager Alexis Castro. Alexis grew up in Medellin, Colombia, where he graduated from Pontifical Bolivarian University with a Bachelor's in Architecture and Urbanism. He is a passionate and award-winning architectural designer with a long and prolific practice conceiving and planning architecture and interior design projects in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, India, the Caribbean islands, and South America.

Alexis and his wife are avid world travelers, who love to learn about different cultures, their people, and architecture. When he’s at home, he enjoys being with his two dogs, nature, music, reading, exercise, and fishing.

To find out more on the growth of the firm, read this article by the Business Observer: https://www.businessobserverfl.com/article/find-a-spark-architecture-firm-continued-to-grow-through-pandemic

Flying High

An animated look at the Venice Theatre complex

A new fly-through animation for Venice Theatre looks at ongoing work to expand and improve the Venice Theatre’s production and education campus, a project designed by Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors. Plans for the complex garnered an SRQ Magazine 4 Walls Platinum Visionary Design Award in 2020, and expansion and enhancements to the theatre lobby and restrooms already have been completed.

Fundraising efforts for the campus continue including the main theater, educational arts building and technical center, all three of which will be linked with a covered walkway. The theatre’s new classroom and rehearsal spaces will provide the Venice community even “more chances to explore the power of the arts” as fostered by the second largest community theatre in the nation.

Click the link to view the fly-through: https://venicetheatre.org/the-next-act/

Supersizing the Koski Center

Asolo Rep thinks big(ger) and better

Construction continues on the Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Robert and Beverly Koski Center expansion, with a new building that will include a “super rehearsal hall,” as well as production spaces and multiple studios. With Phase 1 completed, the organization continues to fundraise as Phase 2 begins.

Designed by Sweet Sparkman, the upgrade will create what Theatre executives say are three “extraordinary” opportunities for Asolo Rep: improvement and expansion of rehearsal facilities that will draw top performers nationwide and enable bigger productions; education and enhancement programs that will allow people to gather, learn, create, and participate in interactive programs and theatre classes for children and adults; and venue spaces to serve other community organizations, while adding to revenue.

That’s a Wrap

Venice Fire Station and City Hall project in the books

Sweet Sparkman has another public safety project under its belt with completion of Fire Station #1 and City Hall renovation and expansion for the City of Venice. The new state-of-the-art station replaces an antiquated 60-year-old facility on the same site. Located in Venice’s Historic Overlay District, the project was subject to review by the city’s Historic Preservation Board. To meet the Board’s requirements, Sweet Sparkman researched original 1926 city plans for the site as prepared by famous urban planner, John Nolen, to arrive at a concept that fit the historic context of the district.

The new two-story fire station includes three drive-through bays with apparatus bay support and dining/dayroom/fitness spaces on the ground floor and sleeping quarters above. The project also included expansion of the City Hall with a new building department and renovations to other departments, while still allowing public access.


Sweet Sparkman | In Detail allows us to share select updates and show you glimpses behind the scenes at Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors. We hope you'll also connect with us via Instagram and LinkedIn.

Of course, our favorite way to connect is by talking. That's the best way to hear what's on your mind and share ideas about the projects that are important to you. One way or another, let's connect!

The Sweet Sparkman Team

Dec. 16, 2021