UF Plaza of the Americas – Rediscovering the Heart of the Campus – Construction Progress Photos

Construction on the restoration of the Plaza of the Americas is progressing.   Currently, ongoing improvements include new walkways, lighting, furnishings, and landscape plantings that will bring the Plaza back to its glory days.  DC+A has been working with the University of Florida for over 10 years to make sure that the enhancements for the Plaza respect the history, culture, and mission of the University.  The final design that is being constructed today will help provide greater access for pedestrians and bicyclists without compromising the beautiful tree canopy.  Historic trees have been protected and new landscape plantings are being installed to help to preserve the “living room” of the campus.  We will post more in the future so you can see the progress.

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Creating Sustainable Designs That Last

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At David Conner + Associates, Inc. we believe that sustainable design is integral to creating quality outdoor spaces. DC+A makes the natural beauty mesh with a realistic, maintainable design that continues to fit the environment. When clients understand the long term scope of growth and change, they’ll perpetually enjoy a beautiful project. Although sustainable design is potentially more expensive in the initial stages, the benefits are infinitely more realized in the years to come.
DC+A collaborated with civil engineers from Heery Design to complete a bioswale design for the Harrell Medical Education Building at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville, Florida. The bioswales actively work to control storm water runoff on the grounds and filtrate the runoff. Storm water is purposefully diverted from the passenger drop-off and courtyard areas into the bioswales where it irrigates the bioswale and its plants, which in turn filters out debris and pollutants from the water. The excess water then drains into the storm water system. The bioswale helps the University of Florida manage the runoff of storm water into the larger storm water management system.

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The Power of Healing Gardens

At David Conner + Associates, we design for people. We design social spaces that people can enjoy, value, and find comfort.

The spaces we create are intended to connect people with nature and deliver something deeper than aesthetic value. This is the case with our healing gardens. Medical research has shown that people who spend more time outdoors tend to be happier, have better immune systems, and have increased creative production. Healing gardens simply help people feel better.

With the advancement of modern medicine in the 20th Century, healing gardens were directed towards rehabilitative efforts concerning psychological issues. Today, in comparison, the therapeutic features of healing gardens are seen as an integral piece in the design of all healthcare landscapes.

Research done by Roger Ulrich, professor at Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture, and Clare Cooper, Professor Emerita in the Department of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, found viewing certain types of nature and garden scenes can significantly affect and diminish stress levels, sometimes as quickly as within five minutes. When observing similar scenes for longer periods, studies have shown that patient stays and pain medication intake are reduced.

“Well-designed hospital gardens not only provide restorative and pleasant nature views, but also can reduce stress and improve clinical outcomes through other mechanisms such as increasing access to social support and providing opportunities for positive escape from stressful clinical settings,” Professor Ulrich said.

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Over the past 10 years, DC+A has worked closely with University of Florida – Gainesville and Dr. C. Craig Tisher, former Dean of the UF College of Medicine, to develop and restore the campus’s Wilmot Gardens, located next to the Shands Medical Plaza and Judith and Jerry Davis Cancer Pavilion on UF’s campus. The gardens, which were originally built in 1946, span five acres and serve as a peaceful place where students, faculty, patients, and their families can engage with nature.

The new Wilmot Gardens Greenhouse at University of Florida-Gainesville

The Gardens have seen dramatic changes over the past decade, stemming from the original Masterplan DC+A designed in 2007. The addition of the new Wilmot Gardens Greenhouse and the Community Lawn, which hosts UF’s College of Medicine Hippocratic Oath Ceremony, serve as meaningful locations dedicated to the future of medicine and horticultural therapy. UF recently started a new curriculum based upon the changes made to Wilmot Gardens; the Therapeutic Horticulture Certificate Program began in 2015 and is facilitated in the Greenhouse. Patients also have the opportunity to participate in a rehabilitative program within the garden’s Greenhouse.

The most recent addition to the Garden’s restoration is the installation of the Chapman Healing Garden, which is expected to be complete by August 2016. The Healing Garden will be a beautiful, yet comfortable setting that will feature a curve-linear winding path for relaxed walking and shaded by over 50 Japanese Maple trees, as well as a beautiful array of Camellias. A quiet, calm fountain garden awaits visitors in the middle of a secluded and tranquil destination. The Garden is specifically designed to be therapeutic and stress-reducing for patients, staff, families, and other visitors who seek out the peace and tranquility of the garden.

Drawing of Chapman Healing Garden at Wilmot Gardens, University of Florida-Gainesville

We are excited for the future of Wilmot Gardens and the development of the new Chapman Healing Garden! Our passion lies in creating opportunities for people to discover and interact with quality outdoor spaces.

Sources
http://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/releases/xlm-a0036577.pdf
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18394317
http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/spending-time-outdoors-is-good-for-you
http://plantsolutions.com/documents/HealthSettingsUlrich.pdf

 

Isabel Gallego Returns to DC+A With Experience Gained in Colombia

Isabel Gallego HeadshotDavid Conner + Associates is excited to announce Isabel Gallego has returned to our team as a Project Designer!

Isabel was trained as an architect in Colombia, South America, before coming to the United States in 2005.  She was an integral part of our team from 2007-2009.  She returned to Colombia and completed a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture from Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellín. Isabel says, “While working and studying in Colombia, I learned many new things I can apply at David Conner + Associates. Being a part of the DC+A team allows me to contribute my international experiences, and expands the creativity of the DC+A design team.”

Her diverse landscape architecture experience in the United States and South America allows for a rich background of knowledge in materials, colors, and plant life common to Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America.  Prior to returning to the United States, Isabel was a Senior Designer for the award winning firm, Mesa & Uribe Paisajistas S.A.S., participating in notable projects such as the EAFIT University, Medellín, and Oviedo Mall, Medellín.

We are thrilled to welcome Isabel back into the firm!  We are confident that her diverse experience and dedication to creating innovative, engaging, and enjoyable spaces is a perfect fit with our creative design team approach.

“Each project is unique at DC+A.” says Isabel. “We have always been interested in creating spaces that are in balance with the environment, and places where people are able to interact and enjoy the outdoors.”

New Social Spaces Bring People Together

At David Conner + Associates, we create social spaces for people to use, experience, enjoy and value. Understanding these spaces is integral to how we work as they affect how people communicate, experience life, and grow.

At the University of Florida’s Gainesville campus, we redesigned the grounds of the student center, the J. Wayne Reitz Union, which includes a stunning outdoor amphitheater. Our primary goal: increase accessibility to the improved amphitheater and Liberty Pond – an area where students frequently gather for events. The resulting space integrates the new building with Liberty Pond providing more outdoor event opportunities for students, visitors, and staff in a beautiful outdoor setting. Today, all students can easily participate in events at the amphitheater, regardless of physical limitations.

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We love working all over, especially when we can create meaningful places people treasure. It’s always good to work in one’s backyard, so to speak. Over the past two years, we have been active in developing and implementing a streetscape plan for the beautiful, historic Hyde Park Village in Tampa, FL. This area is known for offering some of the best open-air shopping, restaurants, and food markets in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, including lululemon, west elm, Timpano Italian Chophouse, and CinéBistro (a premium movie theatre and dining experience). Our urban streetscape plan (expected to be complete Fall, 2016) involves renovating existing historic elements, hardscape design, and planting design that will revamp roadways and sidewalks into a premier social space, perfect for people to shop, dine, and live.

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At David Conner + Associates, we believe that lives are improved through interaction with quality outdoor spaces; we strive to present opportunities where people can experience outdoor environments with appreciation and enjoyment.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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David Conner + Associates would like to express our sincere gratitude to our many clients, friends, and associates for making the past year a wonderful success. We welcomed Brian and Haley into the DC+A Family, expanding our team to eight. We are humbled to say our relationships with past and current clients remained as strong as ever, all while gaining excellent new partners in design and development. 2015 felt like the start of something special, and we look forward to 2016! From all of us at David Conner + Associates, we hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Brian Cook Joins DC+A!

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David Conner + Associates (DC+A) is pleased to announce the addition of Brian Cook to the firm as a Landscape Architect. Brian has a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Colorado Denver and a Bachelor’s of Science in Journalism from the University of Colorado Boulder. Brian’s professional experience includes engagement on numerous public space projects throughout the United States as a member of Civitas, Inc. Since 2010, Brian has taught Landscape Architecture as an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado and then the University of Georgia. DC+A is excited about the extension of our creative team and the urban design experience Brian brings to our drawing tables.

Project Update: Harrell Medical Education Building

David visited the project site for the Harrell Medical Education Building at the University of Florida on Tuesday. Below are some pictures of the construction.

Rain garden planters under construction.

Rain garden planters under construction.

Panorama with a 72' Oak canopy

Panorama with a 72′ Oak canopy

Installing the limestone paving at the LID planters.

Installing the limestone paving at the LID planters.

Rubber path to protect tree roots.

Rubber path to protect tree roots.

Limestone seats.

Limestone seats.

Plaza entry and courtyard construction.

Plaza entry and courtyard construction.

Limestone seating walls in the garden.

Limestone seating walls in the garden.

Visualizations of the completed project:

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Fletcher Avenue wins Project of the Year

FletcherAve_108 editThe Fletcher Avenue Complete Streets Project was awarded 2014 Project of the year by the Tampa Bay Institute of Transportation Engineers. This award is given in recognition of an outstanding transportation project that has applied innovative techniques and successful implementation. We are very honored to be on the team for this project and humbled to win this award.

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David Conner + Associates (DC+A) collaborated with ELEMENT Engineering Group and the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to create this pedestrian safe complete street project for Hillsborough County. The Fletcher Avenue Complete Street project focuses on pedestrian safety by providing increased signage and mid-block crossing opportunities. Fletcher Avenue also implemented Low Impact Development (LID) strategies by providing low maintenance -high visibility plantings through the use of a very low water usage palette of plant material.

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David Conner + Associates Receives Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

 

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David Conner + Associates Receives Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

 Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

 Tampa, FL January 22, 2015David Conner + Associates Tampa, FL has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Design by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The local Planning, Landscape Architecture and Design Firm was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals. The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014.

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“We are honored to be voted Best of Houzz for design by the Houzz community” – David Conner, Principal.

 “Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize David Conner + Associates among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

Follow David Conner + Associates on Houzz: http://www.houzz.com/pro/tkatcher/david-conner-associates

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About David Conner + Associates

David Conner + Associates is an award winning planning and landscape architectural firm located in downtown Tampa, Florida.  DC+A’s high end residential work is spread throughout the Tampa Bay area and Central Florida. Specific Examples can be found at dconnerassociates.com. Established in 1997, DC+A is credited with the landscape architecture design for many of the regions public projects including, General Benjamin Davis Jr. Park on MacDill AFB, USF’s Marshall Center Plaza, Highlands Recreation Complex in Largo, Florida, Heavener Hall and new gateway entry to the University of Florida, Tampa General Hospital’s new entry drop-off canopy, and the University of South Florida Student Center in downtown St. Petersburg.  The firm’s clients include WS Development, Sierra Properties, University of Florida, City of Tampa, University of South Florida, Tampa General Hospital, Florida Department of Transportation, Hillsborough County

 About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin and Sydney. For more information, visit www.houzz.com

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Clearwater Beach Residence Nearing Completion

IMG_7642v2Stopped by our Clearwater Beach project this morning for discussions with contractors.  After nearly two years, we are in the final stages of construction for this beautiful home with spectacular views and a client who has demanded great attention to detail.  Here are a couple snapshots teasing the project.  Looking forward to showing more in the coming months.

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Merry Christmas From All Of Us At DC+A

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As 2014 comes to a close we would like to take a moment to express our sincere gratitude to our many clients, friends and associates for making the past year a wonderful success.  There is no doubt that the past several years have been difficult for many in the design and development industry.   We are very thankful for our many clients who continued to provide us with challenging design opportunities when few were available in the market.  We are humbled by their trust and commitment to the firm.  In 2014 saw a rebound in the market that allowed us to grow our staff with more creative talent and increased project management capability.  Today as we look towards the future, DC+A is better positioned to meet the growing demand for Landscape Architecture, Planning and Urban Design services.  We look forward to serving you with creative, thoughtful design solutions that reflect years of real world experience and knowledge.  Thank you.