Born and raised in Charleston, South Carolina, Mr. Murphy graduated from Harvard. While there, he studied under the tutelage of Walter Gropius, founder of Bauhaus and one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. He later settled in Orlando in 1947 upon retiring from the Army Air Corps. Bob is arguably the first modernist in Orlando; and, the firm he founded still exists today under the name, HuntonBrady architects.
The original American Federal building was built in 1963 by Jack Jennings & Sons. It’s original 2-story design of glass and precast concrete was striking and iconic to the budding city of Orlando. The project under Bob Murphy was also worked on by a young Frank Sheehy before he opened his own practice.
Sometime thereafter, the upper glass section was added and the building became commonly known in Orlando as “The Round Building” due to its multiple patron tenants and its iconic shape.
This building is scheduled for demolition as part of Orlando’s new performing arts center. Central Florida Modern hopes to persuade city and business leaders to save the precast concrete brise soleil and display it somewhere as a remembrance to this buildings unique modern design in Orlando’s history.