Award-winning architect Barry Sugerman dies

Well known South Florida architect Barry Sugerman, who designed dozens of capacious luxury homes with tropical touches in a prolific career that spanned more than four decades, died Tuesday.

Sugerman, 75, had been ill but was still working on several projects when he died, “peacefully among family and friends,’’ said friend Alexa Rossy.

“Architecture was it for Barry,’’ Rossy said. “To draw and design, that was a real passion for him.’’

Sugerman was a versatile and award-winning architect who could draw up Mediterranean-inspired designs as well as contemporary homes with clean geometric lines, his specialty. He was also known for his ability to please clients, some of whom commissioned him to design more than one house, something of an anomaly in the field.

“He was very sensitive to his clients and was able to perform in a variety of styles,’’ said Miami-based architectural photographer Dan Forer, who photographed numerous Sugerman homes for publication in magazines and books. “He was very heavily recognized here and quite appreciated. He had quite a following. His clients would brag about him.’’

Though known primarily as a designer of new homes, the architect also developed an expertise in remodeling older, humdrum houses into showpieces with the open interiors and outdoor views that were a Sugerman signature — including his own waterfront home in Bay Harbor Islands, which he executed in a contemporary style.

Sugerman practiced for most of his career out of North Miami. Some of his homes were built in places as far-flung as Big Sky, Montana, Turkey and Honduras, where he designed a private home for the country’s president. Sugerman also designed a home for Silence of the Lambs author Thomas Harris.

In 1993, a Pinecrest home designed by Sugerman won The National Association of Home Builders’s Home of the Year competition.

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Sugerman moved as a young child with his parents and sister Roberta to Miami Beach, where his father opened a fruit stand in 1939.

In a 2010 article in The Miami Herald, Sugerman traced his interest in architecture to an uncle who came to visit with a suitcase full of blueprints for a home he was helping build in New York. His uncle taught him how to trace over the blueprints.

Sugerman graduated from Miami Beach High, where he was a star, multi-sport athlete, and where he was inducted into the hall of fame in 2003. He studied architecture at Georgia Tech, where he was also a champion pole vaulter. After graduating, he served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, then returned to Miami Beach to launch his architecture career.

Sugerman was divorced from his first wife, interior designer Penny Sugerman, who died in 2004.

He is survived by sister Barbara Kaiser and wife Barbara, to whom he was married for 36 years, and her son, Andrew Huber, and daughter, Cindy Rose Burns. He is also survived by his son, interior designer Brett Sugerman.

Services will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday at Temple Beth Moshe, 2225 NE 121st St., North Miami.

Donations in his memory may be made to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, PO Box 4777, New York, NY 10163-4777;; or Temple Beth Moshe, 2225 NE 121st Street, North Miami, FL 33181.

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