The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach partnered with The Royal Poinciana Plaza to unveil “The Volk Walk,” a walking exhibit that celebrates the life and work of architect John Volk, who designed the iconic plaza in 1958. The installation will be on view to the public in the center of the plaza beginning through March 31, and will be open during regular hours.
The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach curated the outdoor exhibition, which includes architectural drawings and photographs of four residential Palm Beach houses in different styles. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn more about the Plaza’s history, the Playhouse, and John Volk, along with his wife Jane Volk, a historic preservationist. The opening of the exhibit comes on the heels of the exciting news surrounding the renovation of Volk’s iconic Playhouse.
The Preservation Foundation’s Director of Programming Katie Jacobs and Director of Archives Marie Penny collaborated with production and design agency Globadyne to fabricate and visualize materials from the foundation’s archive to suit the space at the plaza. Globadyne’s designer created spaces that visitors can interact with directly, such as the selfie wall that draws from Volk’s travel photographs in the archive.
“We are delighted to partner with the Royal Poinciana Plaza to reach a broader audience with our mission. ‘The Volk Walk’ is a great opportunity to learn more about the architect behind this iconic Palm Beach destination,” said Amanda Skier, president and CEO of the Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach. “Palm Beach is special because of its historic architecture and this exhibition will engage visitors in appreciating the built environment that surrounds them.”
In 1958, John S. Phipps commissioned Volk to design the plaza and requested that he “design for us a shopping plaza in any style you wish; however, it must endure its style for 50 years.” Volk selected the Regency style for the plaza, which was adaptable to the open, modern plan. Although the Royal Poinciana was completed in the mid-century, it remains timeless, and is the perfect venue to learn more about the architect behind the design.
“Our partnership with The Preservation Foundation is a close one, and we are incredibly grateful to be able to support them in producing what will be a wonderful celebration of the life and work of the architect of our special plaza, John Volk,” said Lori Berg, general manager of The Royal Poinciana Plaza. “‘The Volk Walk’ exhibition will be such a unique experience for the community and will enable us a chance to look back on the original Royal Poinciana Playhouse as we embark on its upcoming restoration and redevelopment,”
Volk’s most significant commercial projects are the Royal Poinciana Plaza and additions and renovations to the First National Bank. Outstanding among his civic projects were additions and renovations to the Everglades Club, the Bath and Tennis Club, and the Embassy Club—now the Esther B. O’Keefe Gallery Building at the Society of the Four Arts. His residential projects ranged from estates for titans of the financial world to smaller homes in new subdivisions in Palm Beach and beyond.