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09-15-20 | Feature

Firms of Florida - S&ME

Orlando, Florida

Pilaklakaha Avenue Complete Street Auburndale, Florida
S&ME provided master planning, conceptual design and landscape architectural services for Auburndale's five-block Pilaklakaha Avenue streetscape. The project fundamentally changed the corridor from a flood prone, high-speed arterial into a safe, sustainable, multi-modal street. The project design included a lane reduction from four lanes to two lanes, a multi-purpose trail, on-street parking, enhanced pedestrian safety measures and rain gardens along this 3,300-foot section of roadway that links residential neighborhoods to the city's historic downtown core. The project solved neighborhood flooding issues using multiple green infrastructure strategies including the use of permeable pavers in the parallel parking spaces, planted rain gardens, which pretreat and detain the water for infiltration, and the development of a new stormwater basin. The project was awarded $1.3 million in cooperative funding by the Southwest Florida Water Management District. In addition to the enhanced environmental benefits of the project, the City has also seen increased investment from the private sector along the corridor and has experienced a noticeable reduction in vehicle speeds since the opening of the project. This project received a Grand Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida, 2019 and a Merit Award from the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, 2019.
Holland Park Playground and Splash Pad, Palm Coast, Florida
S&ME provided civil engineering and landscape architecture design services for Palm Coast's new playground and splash pad at Holland Park. The playground and splash pad tell the story of Palm Coast and Flagler County in five themed zones through interpretive play elements. The project's first phase, "Discover Palm Coast," is themed on the Bulow Plantation Sugar Mill archeological site and features a play structure integrated into the Mill's ruins, a six-foot coquina rock escarpment designed for climbing and featuring three slides, an archeological dig and a zip line over an alligator pond and other interactive and accessible structures. Phase two included the "Construction Zone," featuring a synthetic turf mound with concrete pipes that serve as tunnels running through it and an adjacent toddler area with a train and earthmoving equipment. The "Hammock" is a passive area featuring native plantings, a dry creek bed and 'tree-house' play structure. Two splash pad zones-one themed as an inland "Spring" and the other as "Shore"-feature wildlife, sea life and natural features found in the two environments of Flagler County. At the "Spring," kids play around cattails, turtles, a frog, and water lilies and can run through a gauntlet of spray rings. The "Shore" features beach dunes forms integrated into the play surface, palm trees, sand dollars, bottlenose dolphins, a whale, a manta ray, starfish and an octopus.
South Central Park and Magnolia Trail, Winter Haven, Florida
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S&ME developed the master plan and associated landscape architecture construction documents for this multi-purpose civic park and adjacent streetscapes and trail. The project is comprised of a full city block and includes two flexible plaza areas that alternately serve as parking during the day and a place for concerts and events during the evening and weekend hours. The project also incorporates a bikeway through the urban streetscape environment which includes specialty accent lighting, trellised swings and gateway elements. The project received the Project of the Year Award from the Florida Engineering Society, Ridge Chapter, 2019.
Cade Museum of Creativity + Innovation Gainesville, Florida
Selected by the Cade Museum Foundation, S&ME was part of the design team for this project after a nationwide design competition. The Cade Museum of Creativity + Invention is named for the late Robert Cade, inventor of Gatorade, and is dedicated to creating a museum that is educational, interactive and collaborative with hands-on exhibits and workshops designed to inspire creativity and entrepreneurship. The design concept was inspired by nature, the brain and synaptic connections. These themes also inform the site design as the plan provided connections to other facilities within the City of Gainesville's Depot Park, including the historic train depot, lakefront promenade, amphitheater and regional trails. The site is part of a 32-acre brownfield redevelopment. The plan also features sustainable solutions, including rain gardens and native plantings. The project received the Project of the Year Award, ENR Southeast, 2018.
Ocoee Lakefront Park, Ocoee, Florid
In 2017, S&ME began the Master Plan process for the City of Ocoee's 15-acre City Center/Municipal Complex and Lakefront Park which is part of a $45 million public infrastructure investment by the city to stimulate development in downtown. The effort included the development of an overall master plan which encompassed multiple existing city and civic facilities to enhance water access and festival spaces, construct a new City Hall, expand the Lakeshore Civic Center, renovate the grounds of the Withers-Maguire House and develop streetscapes on the surrounding roadways. Key features included a large festival lawn to be utilized for open play, events and performances, waterfront boardwalks, concession spaces, restrooms and a trailhead, splash pad and small performance yard, group picnic areas overlooking Lake Starke, new boat launching facilities, a wedding garden and interpretive landscape exhibit. In 2018, S&ME prepared the construction documents of the first phase of the project, which included the Withers-Maguire House and wedding garden, the festival/event lawn, the Lakeshore Center landscape improvements, expanded parking areas and the conversion of Oakland Avenue to a festival street. Construction for this phase was completed in the fall of 2019. Future phases involve the new City Hall building and site improvements as well as additional park improvements including a waterfront plaza and concession/restroom building, an interactive water feature, natural playscape elements and pavilions.

With offices across the Southeast, we are an employee-owned, interdisciplinary firm with expertise in engineering, design, environmental sciences and construction services. Our Orlando office includes a variety of planners, graphic designers, urban designers, transportation planners, landscape architects and landscape designers with a passion for bringing creative, design-focused solutions to our projects. Our landscape architecture studio is comprised of nine individuals, six of which are licensed landscape architects including two principals. Our studio has a wide range of project experience in both project size and type and we are committed to working closely with clients, owners and stakeholders to achieve a shared vision through a collaborative process. More important than project awards or individual accolades, we define success through quality, built projects and designs that are valued by our clients and, often, entire communities. Our vision statement is 'To be the firm that redefines the process of design, construction and sustainability for our communities through collaboration. To provide innovative solutions and value to our clients beyond what they perceive is possible'.

Editor's Note: With the ASLA annual meeting and EXPO in Miami canceled this year due to safety concerns amid the COVID-19 health pandemic, LASN still wanted to highlight the landscape architectural work of firms from the southeast region. LASN asked the firms to send us a short biographical profile, plus photography from selected projects, with a brief description of the design work for each project. We let the firms speak for themselves in their profiles and in describing the projects, although some editing was required because of space restraints and not all photography and projects could be included. Thank you, firms of Florida and Alabama for participating!

As seen in LASN magazine, September 2020.

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