Within our cities, there still exist pockets of Florida’s natural landscape; those few places where wildlife finds refuge from the urban context. This is one of those places. Here, typical Florida Flatwoods exist harmoniously within the activity of the city. Our journey began with uncovering the beauty of the site’s Flatwoods and turning what was once a liability into an amenity.
The building becomes an extension of the Flatwoods through materiality and architectural language. It inhabits a zone between the car-park and the nature-park on the 22-acre site replete with jogging trails, multi-purpose fields and a large pond. The entry lobby fractures the building creating a central space that allows the facility to open itself to the landscape around it. Vistas provide a seamless connection to the exterior environment—allowing direct views to outdoor activities such as hiking, basketball, tennis, baseball, and swimming. The facility includes two gymnasiums, an indoor running track, fitness center, program rooms, party rooms, and a child play area complete with a three-story tree house climber.
The building was designed to achieve a 60% reduction in energy consumption over the Energy Use Index established by the U.S. Department of Energy.
The City of Largo, Florida
Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Future of the Region Award, 2014
AIA Tampa Bay, Merit Award, 2013
AIA Tampa Bay, H. Dean Rowe Award for Design Excellence, 2012
AIA Florida, Merit Award for Unbuilt Work, 2012
National Recreation and Park Association, Facility or Park Design Award, 2014
Image 2: “Pines and Palmettos: A Portrait of Largo, Florida”
Images 1, 4-6, 10-14: Joseph Gamble Photography