Local News

Archbold buildings place fourth in contest

—Archbold Biological Station Learning Center and Lodge was voted the Gulf Coast area’s favorite public-use building and fourth favorite statewide in an online architecture competition hosted by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Parker/Mudgett/Smith Architects Inc. of Fort Myers designed the LEED platinum buildings, which were among six Gulf Coast area buildings nominated for the competition.

Results of the monthlong online voting, which drew more than 800,000 votes, were announced at AIA Florida’s annual convention in Miami recently.

The public competition recognized 58 buildings around Florida that help meet the needs of their communities through innovative design.

The Smokey Hollow Commemoration at Cascades Park in Tallahassee received the most votes to claim the People’s Choice Award.

Barbara Stewart, board trustee of Archbold Biological Station, said: “As a former Highlands County commissioner, I am extremely proud that these outstanding buildings placed fourth in the People’s Choice contest. Archbold has played an important role in the science education of our local students for many years. Now when the students have scientific field trips to Archbold, they are also able to learn firsthand about sustainable architecture, engineering, and construction.”

“We are delighted that this competition showcased outstanding architectural achievement in even everyday structures like a Walgreens or athletic facilities, which you may not expect to see in an architecture competition,” said Nathan Butler, president of AIA Florida. “Each of the nominated buildings has had and continues to have a positive impact on its community and the people it serves.”

The other nominees within the Gulf Coast chapter were:

Mosaic Streamsong Resort Clubhouse, Architect: Alfonso Architects

Play Ball Pavilion, Architect: Sweet Sparkman Architects Inc.

Robert & Beverly Koski Bell Tower and Academic Plaza, Architect: Renker Eich Parks Architects

Sarasota County Area Transit, Architect: Architects Design Group Inc.

Sun-N-Fun Lifestyle Wellness Center, Architect: Carlson Studio Architecture

“We are thrilled that so many Floridians were engaged with this competition,” said Bill Hercules, president of the board of trustees of the Florida Foundation for Architecture. “It’s easy for people to overlook the economic and social impacts architecture can play in their local environments, and our goal was to educate the public about these impacts through the People’s Choice Award architecture competition.”

The Archbold buildings’ principal architect, Jeff Mudgett explained: “We combined features such as breezeways and concrete construction with daylight harvesting and highly energy-efficient air conditionings to take advantage of old and new approaches to sustainability.”

Hilary Swain, executive director of Archbold Biological Station added: “Our Learning Center and Lodge design was a great opportunity to showcase how to go green by blending the types of things familiar to your great granny, with progressive architecture.”