Thursday, July 29, 2021

Secret Tampa Bay Bonus Content: Different by Design

Having lived in Chicago as long as I did, there's just no way not to have developed a keen appreciation for architecture. Consequently I found so many interesting and unusual buildings around Tampa that I wanted to include them all, but there just wasn't enough room. Also, while each of the locations on the list below was more than enough to fill an individual paragraph, turning any one of them into a full chapter would have been a bit of a stretch. So here there are for you, in all their previously unpublished glory.

Different by Design

Are there other noteworthy buildings around Tampa Bay?

It turns out that manmade castles, modern ruins and churches as chicken perches represent but a fraction of Tampa’s weird and wonderful buildings. Here are a few more:

Bungalow Terrace. Hidden behind Hyde Park’s hip boutiques and gastropubs, is a quaint street with 19 historic homes (one of which belonged to novelist Alec Waugh) developed by Alfred Swann and Eugene Holtsinger starting in 1913. These single level houses were modeled after California’s bungalows, due to their craftsmanship, adaptability and minimal cost and maintenance requirements.

Rivergate Tower. To locals, that round tower in the Tampa skyline is known as the Beer Can Building. What makes it unique? Built in 1988 by architect Harry Wolf, if makes use of the Fibonacci sequence (where each number is the sum of the two previous numbers), such that window panes and floor tiles get progressively larger up the building. And now you can go apologize to your middle school math teacher for what you said about never using their lessons in the real world.

Amalie Arena. Everyone knows Amalie Arena is where you go to watch the Tampa Bay Lighting play. What far fewer people know is that it’s also the only place in Tampa where you can actually summon lighting - from the massive Tesla coils suspended over the ice. If you take a tour of the arena, you might just get to press the button and make lightning happen, thus fulfilling your secret, unspoken fantasy of being a modern day Norse deity (you know it’s true). Unpronounceable mythical hammer not included.

Former Publix Grocery Stores. Most folks don’t go out of their way to drop by the local tax collector’s office. But then, most tax collector’s offices aren’t inside of astoundingly art deco buildings with mosaics featuring pirates, like the one in Lakeland.

What about the cone-shaped shacks in various strip malls throughout the area? Those would be Twistee Treat ice cream restaurants and your salvation when temperatures climb above 90 degrees.

Strange Structures
What: More unusual buildings
Where: Multiple locations
Cost: Free
Pro Tip: If you build it they will come.

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