Designs of Distinction
Southwest Florida commercial spaces that make a statement
Commercial construction has been picking up lately after several years of dormancy forced by the economic downturn. The projects materialize quickly and blend in with the landscape and other structures. But occasionally, a building or space emerges that attracts attention for either its ugliness or beauty.
This month, Gulfshore Business, in partnership with the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Florida Southwest chapter, is focusing on the attractive developments with our Commercial Design Awards. Architects and builders were invited to submit projects of which they were most proud and make a case for why they should be chosen. And we received several notable, not to mention functional, submissions.
To choose the winners, three local architects examined the project descriptions and photos. After a lot of perusal and discussion, they arrived at five honorees in the following categories: commercial new construction, medical new construction, institutional/cultural new construction, commercial interior and commercial renovation. Finally, an honorable mention was added. All were completed after Jan. 1, 2013, as per the rules. Please read on to learn about the winners and the architects’ comments.
Meet the Judges
Stephen J. Hruby is a partner at Naples-based Architects Unlimited, a 35-year-old firm recognized nationally for urban revitalization and residential practice. Local projects have included the Simmonds Corporate Center and the Naples Academy of Ballet. Hruby was the 2014 president of AIA Florida Southwest.
Professional designations: AIA, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional (AP) Building Design and Construction.
Thomas A. Mayo is the director of Facilities Planning at Florida Gulf Coast University. His department administrates all design and construction projects at FGCU. He is a Florida licensed architect, and belongs to the American Institute of Architects and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. Before starting at FGCU in 2012, he worked in the private architectural field for 30 years. He was the first architect in Southwest Florida to obtain the LEED Accredited Professional credential.
Rick McCormack is president of Indigo Architecture Inc. of Fort Myers and has been practicing architecture in Southwest Florida since 1978. Local projects have included Cape Harbor, Mercedes-Benz in Naples and Twin Dolphins condominiums. He is the current secretary of AIA Florida Southwest and has served on the City of Fort Myers Historic Preservation Board. Professional designations: AIA and National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.
FORT MYERS REGIONAL LIBRARY
2450 FIRST ST., FORT MYERS
PROJECT ARCHITECT: BSSW ARCHITECTS INC.
CONTRACTOR: LODGE CONSTRUCTION
This new public library has led the transformation of a cultural district envisioned in the Fort Myers master plan by renowned urban planner Andrés Duany. The new campus has become a community destination, not only by its function as a public library but also as a civic place focused on providing programming and activities central to the lives of all members of the city. Patrons can check out library materials, attend a reading or small performance, grab a coffee and read a magazine on their way to—or from—work, have a restful lunch break, or drop their kids off for a regular class before heading to Art Walk on a Friday night.
The project was designed using traditional materials such as brick and metal roofs to seamlessly blend with the surroundings of downtown Fort Myers, while at the same time expressing a completely contemporary architecture befitting the cornerstone of the cultural district.
The facility exemplifies responsible and sustainable building specific to Southwest Florida.
“I appreciate the creation of exterior space at the entry plaza, which appropriately distinguishes this project as a gift to the community.” — Thomas A. Mayo
“Crisp organization of space. Plenty of natural light for the library.” —Rick McCormack
“The interior spaces are colorful, bright and inviting. A wonderful, simply organized public space.” —Stephen J. Hruby
THE CONTINENTAL NAPLES
1205 THIRD STREET S., NAPLES
PROJECT ARCHITECT: DAVID POORMAN
CONTRACTOR: IDYLL CONSTRUCTION
The task was to create a stylish and functional space that offered three separate and distinct dining environments within the restaurant— two dining rooms and an exterior courtyard for a total of 3,400 square feet. The color palette was derived from Etro fabric, art was inspired by the work of Christian LaCroix, and the exterior spaces were inspired by various hotel patios created by Phillip Starke and Marcel Wanders.
The entire exterior had to be raised anywhere from 1 to 3 feet to correct drainage issues, and the covered canopies were fabricated offsite by two different subcontractors and assembled like a giant Tinkertoy— a field measurement nightmare.
The Continental has abundant non-air-conditioned, shaded outdoor seating areas and spaces. Portions of the roofs were planted for rainwater runoff management to not only absorb rainwater but also lower urban air temperatures and mitigate the heat island effect.
“The design is an extraordinary tour de force of exterior and interior rooms and progression of spaces—a wonderful solution for a difficult site.”—Hruby
“Fantastic indoor/outdoor space with a great sense of connectivity between them.” —Mayo
BRUNO AIR CONDITIONING
28731 SOUTH CARGO
COURT, BONITA SPRINGS
PROJECT ARCHITECT: BROOKS SWANSON AIA
CONTRACTOR: PBS CONTRACTORS
The Bruno Air Conditioning project was a design-build interior renovation. It was imperative that the headquarters be completed and open in record time for it to continue to serve customers in the capacity that met the owner’s vision. This renovation consisted of 6,490 square feet and included updating the facility to a modern, open floor plan. The facility now has space for commercial operations, a pull-through bay for the technicians to load up materials, a training facility, a kitchenette and residential operations.
Some unique features found in this interior renovation include a staircase made from aluminum pipe with a prefabricated cable assembly, and projection screens placed throughout the facility for easy training on the spot when needed.
“An open feeling with intense use of space. The lighting enhances the color scheme.” —McCormack
“This space is well-organized and responsive to modern office workflow. It is contemporary and edgy, yet a pleasant, spacious place to work.” —Hruby
“The exposed structure and open plan arrangement runs appropriate to the building use and occupant. Innovative workstation enclosures.” —Mayo
COSMETIC & IMPLANT DENTISTRY OF NAPLES
5390 PARK CENTRAL COURT, NAPLES
PROJECT ARCHITECT: JOHN GESHAY, AIA, LEED AP, BD+C; GESHAY ASSOCIATES INC.
CONTRACTOR: SURETY CONSTRUCTION
INTERIOR DESIGNER: GESHAY ASSOCIATES INC., ALONG WITH BILL SULLIVAN, DDS, OWNER
The style is transitional, with contemporary lighting, furnishings, accessories and artwork. The use of sustainable wood and natural stone, as well as the custom trim and cabinetry, provides warmth to the interiors. Additionally, the corners of the walls are eased so there are no harsh edges.
The 3,000-square-foot interior incorporates a circular check-in counter at the reception area, along with suspended stainless steel track lighting and raised signage. The light-filled open plan maintains privacy for patients and incorporates eight ergonomic dental chairs in individual rooms. Other spaces include a waiting area, laboratory, sterilization area, X-ray, break room and offices.
Special consideration was given for sound-proofing of compressors and equipment, and installing leadlined walls for safety, indirect fluorescent lighting, dimmers and special wall sconces.
“The geometry of the lobby provides a soothing entry with contrasting vertical and horizontal colors and materials.”
“The overall spa-like character of the public spaces and treatment rooms makes what is often considered a stressful experience more calm.” —Hruby
“Very elegant use of materials in all spaces. The design shows restraint and simplicity.” —Mayo
4100 TAMIAMI TRAIL N., NAPLES
PROJECT ARCHITECT: CHRISTOPHER J. LEE ARCHITECTS INC.
CONTRACTOR: STEVENS CONSTRUCTION INC.
The project’s mission was to incorporate General Motors branding elements on both the exterior and interior of the facility to help Cadillac align with the revitalized national brand strategy and changing customer expectations.
DeVoe Cadillac has been serving clients in Naples since 1968 in a one-story showroom. The project’s biggest challenge was completing an extensive renovation, which included the demolition of the existing showroom, while keeping DeVoe Cadillac in operation during the 16 months of construction.
Stevens Construction demolished the existing showroom and built the two-story showroom and sales center incorporating all of the design requirements from General Motors.
The outcome: a new two-story, 37,677-square-foot sales and showroom facility, which created a flagship facility for the entire DeVoe family of automobile dealerships in Southwest Florida.
“Nice combination of symmetry and asymmetry to the building exterior.” —Mayo
“Cars sparkle under point lighting. Elegant use of space and color.” —McCormack
“Clean, contemporary appearance with an elegant, classical proportion.” —Hruby
1370 CREEKSIDE BLVD., NAPLES
PROJECT ARCHITECT: STANTEC
This is a custom fountain and entry sign for the Arthrex facility in Naples. The mission was to “create and build the impossible” by constructing a floating oversized logo for the sign that was also hurricane-proof. This project used three engineering firms in addition to specialty suppliers and subcontractors from Colorado and Toronto.
The custom fountain and sign were built with a modern style using acrylic, concrete, coquina stone and LED lights.
“The scale, use of water and dynamic lines of the fountain are a counterpart to the contemporary lines of the corporate headquarters whose entry it marks.”
“The project elegantly brings multiple materials together in a sculptural, signature piece. The play between water and other materials highlights the composition nicely.” —Mayo
“The lighting makes the water sculpture sparkle. It’s signage as sculpture that floats.” —McCormack GB