Downtown Orlando Developments

Architects add “sizzle” to parking garage designs for new Creative Village buildings

The office building garage is clad with three rows of metal perforated rectangular panels in shades of gold and amber, creating an ombre effect. The parking structure serving the new apartment tower is disguised by a row of undulating fins that create a sound wave effect.

The developers behind the $250 million expansion at Creative Village filed updated plans Thursday with revised architectural designs to satisfy the city’s request for more “artistic flair.”

Ustler Development and The Allen Morris Company received master plan approval earlier this month for a new luxury apartment tower, a 12-story office building and new Moxey Hotel. The Orlando City Council has approved the sale of three parcels in Creative Village for a combined $13.77 million.


During a courtesy review on Oct. 12, Appearance Review Board Director Richard Forbes had called out the two parking garages for failing to meet the standards for the Creative Village district.

“Staff strongly feels that the parking garage treatments are inadequate and greatly diminish the quality of the architecture of the buildings they serve,” Forbes wrote in the staff report. “Significant architectural integration and design enhancements are needed for the street-facing parking garage elevations in Parcels X and Y in order for ARB staff to support approval of the project.”


The revised design package creates a unique design element for each parking garage. The ombre gold metal cladding over the office building garage was changed from abstract shapes to smaller rectangles with a variety of dotted patterns. The material appears more opaque, and the 3-story monument sign along the Chatham Avenue frontage is gone.

Wayne Dunkelberger, creative director for Baker Barrios, said the new design helps break the visual plane to create a more intimate pedestrian experience.

“Actually there’s three different finishes and three different (perforations), so it will be in some areas reflective and some areas not, so that’s the cool part,” he said. “As you walk down the facade you look at it and each piece is different, so it really starts to break up the length of the building. It will have all of that — it’ll have big holes small holes, and it’ll have ins and outs and different finishes that react to the sun differently.”

Craig Ustler told GrowthSpotter they are leaving the door open to resubmit a sign package at a later date. “We like the idea of the Creative Village name being used, but it is not a ‘must do’ as part of the base building design,” he said.

The view of Luminary Green park from the 12-story office tower planned for the corner of Chatham and Livingston.

The submittal provides a variety of view perspectives, including the view looking north from one of the office balconies across Luminary Green park at The Julian Apartments and UnionWest. Ustler said the balconies are an important design element and critical to the lease-up.

“Given the post-COVID realities of office space, tenants want outdoor spaces,” he explained. “These balconies are specific to each tenant so they can use them as part of their overall space. The views to Luminary Green park are really nice, and we think the balconies and outdoor areas are one of the distinct leasing advantages of office space at Parcel X office building.”

The developers wanted the new apartment tower to be the tallest building on the west side of downtown Orlando to serve as a landmark for Creative Village. The pool deck will have a view of the Central Business District.

The 26-story luxury apartment tower is defined by its extensive use of tinted glass and the four-story band at the mid-point of the building.

Ustler said the main direction from him and co-developer Allen Morris was “for it to be the tallest building on the West side of downtown Orlando and for it to be iconic from the Central Business District looking west, so it was an identifier and placemaker for Creative Village


Dunkelberger said the central band represents a first for the architecture firm, because it’s the cluster of studio units. “It’s completely new to Orlando, and actually we haven’t done it before,” he said. He calls it a “neighborhood in the sky.”

Here, the architect chose to use clear high-efficient clear glass windows and place them at angles to refract the light. The studio section also includes a two-story coworking space on the eastern facade.

The vertical, wave-like fins extending from the wall of the parking garage emphasize the height of the residential tower and serve as a backdrop for the pocket park. The shapes will create depth and shadows during the day. At night, they could be lit from inside the garage.

A new view of the amenity deck highlights the view of downtown Orlando from the pool. The fitness center and other amenities will be located on the ground floor of the tower to help activate the pocket park out front.

The parking garage would serve as a canvas for a row of three-dimensional fins that articulate from the side of the structure. Dunkelberger said the design was inspired by the verticality of the adjacent tower but meant to create a backdrop for urban life and activity in the park.

“The form is like that idea of verticality and, yes, they look like piano keys, but they offer up something interesting and you’re like wow, what is that, and you start to see it as a backdrop to something where cool things happen in the park,” he said. “So that’s the hope and desire when we design things, it’s that it becomes this backdrop to urban life.”

The Creative Village Development Review Committee will give its formal appearance review on Nov. 9.


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