Healy Guest House
("Cocoon House")

The Cocoon House, officially known as the Healy Guest House, was constructed in 1950 by the partnership of Ralph Twitchell and Paul Rudolph. Its nickname comes from the innovative roofing material used – a spray-on plastic that Paul Rudolph observed being used in the Brooklyn Navy Yard to cocoon or “mothball” ships coming back from World War II.
Cocoon House
Cocoon House, Construction
Cocoon House Construction

Architect

Paul Rudolph, 1950

Perched on the edge of the bayou with opening jalousie walls, this house was designed for breezes and view. The curved roof structure of steel straps and insulation board is as light and delicate as possible. Imagine it with no other houses around. How did such a radical and experimental structure get built? Twitchell’s in-laws were the clients, and it was built by Twitchell’s construction firm, Associated Builders. This house gained worldwide attention for Twitchell and Rudolph and Sarasota architecture. – Joseph King

Healy Guest House - Today

The 750 square foot structure was historically designated by the City of Sarasota in 1985 and is currently a rental property.
Sarasota Architectural Foundation, in conjunction with their celebration of Paul Rudolph’s 100th birthday, began leasing the building in April 2018. SAF subsequently carried out small renovations to the property, including the stripping of white paint from the louvers, re-building the front and back porches, and providing a period-correct front door.
Following renovations, SAF contracted local interior designer Ellen Hanson of Pansy Bayou to furnish the structure in a 1950s style; SAF then opened up the house to the public for monthly tours.
Cocoon House, 2018, Photo: Jenny Acheson
Cocoon House, 2018
Photo: Jenny Acheson

News about Cocoon House

Cocoon House Update, 08/02/2020

Cocoon House Restoration Update

SAF, with the help of Josh Myers, recently restored 420 louvers on the Cocoon House. The 70 year-old louvers were sanded and refinished with delicate care to maintain the original…

Other Designs by Paul Rudolph

Walker Guest House, Architect: Paul Rudolph, Photo: Ezra Stoller

Walker Guest House

This project was Paul Rudolph’s first after breaking his partnership with Ralph Twitchell in 1952. Because of its spatial efficiency and environmental features, it is one of the most exemplary structures of the “Sarasota School.”

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Cohen Residence, Architect: Paul Rudolph

Cohen Residence

The house was built in 1955 for former City of Sarasota Mayor David Cohen and his wife, Eleene, is a classic example of the Sarasota School of Architecture movement, with glass walls that open completely to the elements.

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Deering Residence, Architect: Paul Rudolph, Photo: Ezra Stoller

Deering Residence

Constructed primarily of stacked lime blocks and exposed cypress, this two-bedroom beach house is an exercise in spatial complexity and the blending of inside with outside.

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Martin Harkavy House, Architect: Paul Rudolph

Martin Harkavy House

With broad overhangs, thin framing, delicate screens, and open carport, the original house seems both light and monumental. A two-story glass living room at the rear opens to a private garden.

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Burkhardt Residence, Architect: Paul Rudolph, Photo: Emily Cain

Burkhardt Residence

Rudolph planned this house as two units – one public and one private, which are connected by an 22-ft x 40-ft open-air living room with 12-ft-tall ceilings, full-height glass and a skylight that runs its entire 40-ft length.

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Sarasota High School Addition

SHS Rudolph Canopies

Further to its efforts with the School Board of Sarasota County on the renovation of Paul Rudolph’s 1960 Sarasota High School, in 2018, SAF, in partnership with the Sarasota Art Museum, worked to dedicate the concrete canopies…

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Sarasota High School Addition

Sarasota High School

A successor to Rudolph’s Riverview High School also in Sarasota (built 1958, demolished 2009), Sarasota High School is the equivalent of all the principles that Paul Rudolph developed…

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Umbrella House, Architect: Paul Rudolph, Photo: Anton Grassl

Umbrella House

Built as a speculative house for the contemporary development Lido Shores to attract attention from the road, the Umbrella House measures about 2,000 square feet…

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