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The circle cutouts of the garage screening will light up in multiple colors at night. The same color scheme is utilized in the stairwell.
The circle cutouts of the garage screening will light up in multiple colors at night. The same color scheme is utilized in the stairwell. (Jefrë/ Ratio Architects)

Tavistock Development Company and Jefrë are teaming up again to design a parking structure in Lake Nona Town Center that merges functionality with public art.

“We don’t want anything to seem utilitarian,” Tavistock Vice President Ralph Ireland said. “Everything has to have a purpose. Every object has to be thoughtful.”

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Their first parking garage collaboration introduced a wall of aluminum panels wrapping the main structure, with cutouts of zeros and ones in binary code. Fins of dichroic glass extend from the skin of the wall, creating prismatic reflections with hints of color throughout the day. The 60-foot tall Beacon at the corner is the symbol of the community.

Local artist Jefrë used Braille as the inspiration for the circle-shaped cutouts on the skin around the new parking garage in Lake Nona Town Center.
Local artist Jefrë used Braille as the inspiration for the circle-shaped cutouts on the skin around the new parking garage in Lake Nona Town Center. (Jefrë/Ratio)

“You can actually decode it,” Ireland said. “There’s a key on the second floor, you can see it from the Chroma restaurant. It has inspirational messages about innovation.”

The newest 800-space parking structure features a skin with circle-shaped cutouts and pops of LED accents that transform the building into a confetti of color after the sun sets. Jefrë turned again to language for the seed of the design.

“I would say in this case it’s not as literal,” Ireland told GrowthSpotter. “He used Braille as the inspiration. It’s not Braille, but inspired by it. We’re still working out the interpretation of it and all that. But that’s the inspiration. It is a little bit more whimsical, because that’s what the Braille led to."

The developer is seeking FAA approval for the added height to the hotel tower.

The glass-enclosed corner stairwell becomes a main focus, with each level of stairs painted a different color. The circle-theme is repeated with the array of globe-shaped pendent lights in both corner towers.

The new structure will serve the second development phase of the town center, which includes a new office building, a hotel, wellness center and medical office building, as well as multiple buildings still slated for future development. Tavistock has submitted the project for appearance review to the Southeast Town Design Review Committee.

“We’re getting the design approved now so we can be shovel-ready,” Ireland said. “We do intend to start construction in the near future.”

The development team includes co-developer Steiner + Associates, prime designer Walker & Associates and Ratio Architects.

The ground level is designed with high ceilings, so it could allow for potential retail uses in the future. Ireland said the intent of the parking structure design is to create a visual impact with maximum functionality.

“Our garages, if they’re going to be high usage garages with a lot of turnover, we want them to have express ramps,” he said. “That’s not an aesthetic thing, but it’s an ease of function thing. We make sure these high usage garages are painted, because it not only looks nice and clean, but it also reflects light better, so it feels more secure, and it helps from a wayfinding standpoint.”

The structural efficiencies raise the project budget more than the exterior enhancements, Ireland said.

“It’s not that much more of a premium than if you were to design it traditionally with precast panels to try to make it look like a building,” he said. “We’ve just taken that and said let’s try to reimagine and fit within the same budget.”

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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