In 2019, the St. John’s River Water Management District acquired a five-acre site near the North Shore of Lake Apopka to build a new service center, providing the SJRWMD with an opportunity to move its critical services to the State of Florida to a centralized location.
The Apopka Service Center for the St. Johns River Water Management District is a 17,160 SF office building consisting of executive offices, meeting rooms, flex offices, workstation areas, a staff break/gathering area, and large conference rooms designed for collaboration. The facility entrance + multipurpose meeting rooms take advantage of a narrow view corridor to the west, framing distinct views of Lake Apopka. Each façade features a juxtaposition of resilient materials, selected to unite the structure with nearby landscapes and provide a maintenance-free exterior for the client.
Various design enhancements were evaluated in the schematic design process. A major adjustment to the originally proposed building placement was to rotate the building from an east / west main axial relationship to a north / south orientation. The north / south positioning promoted a relationship from the interior to the natural environment while also providing a strong visual connection to the main entry. In addition, this orientation would maximize future photovoltaic panel placement.
In concert with the site plan adjustments, the proposed conceptual floor plan was modified to create visual access highlighting the entry and gathering points. Through the sliding back of the building masses along the central corridor. This unlocks the recessed interior confined spaces at the main entry and breakroom to provide open areas with expansive views creating a seamless interior / exterior space.
The realignment of the building along with the building mass adjustments created enhanced employee connection points to the exterior. The open office work area is designed around a large expanse of glazing that allows for natural light to penetrate deeply into the building while providing over 80% of the occupants to have views of the exterior. In addition, all interior corridors have one end that offers a direct line of sight to the exterior through floor to ceiling glazing.
This view orientation combined with storm water design allowed for the integration of enhanced landscaping and rain garden designs while concurrently shielding these areas from the parking and the nearby roadway. The project not only provided a sustainable design solution but also addressed the unique environmental and climate characteristics of Florida, for which this project earned Florida Green Building Coalition Gold Certification.