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Architect honored for Madeira Beach design
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ST. PETERSBURG – Tampa Bay’s chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded St. Petersburg-based Wannemacher Jensen Architects with the region’s highest design honor at its flagship annual event last month.

The H. Dean Rowe, FAIA Award for Design Excellence recognized WJA’s design of the Madeira Beach City Hall. Notably, a city hall had never won any design award in the Tampa Bay region. The 14-acre municipal complex also includes a fire station, recreation center, and large community park and event space.

“It's often difficult to do inspiring civic design,” said WJA principal Jason Jensen. “Politics can easily get in the way but Madeira leaders have a vision for a truly unique destination.”

“The project provided opportunity to weave large multi-use public space with core civic activity,” said project manager Harold Somarriba. “The highly functional municipal structure blends with parkland to form a community center. It fosters new relationships between public space and public service, allowing exterior circulation to be used by all as event spaces.”

The Madeira Beach city hall makes use of extensive low-E glass, flexible interior office space, covered exterior circulation, and an elevated structure. The building promotes opportunities to reduce energy consumption, actively engage with the outdoor environment, and promote wellness for city staff and the general public in a positive and familiar atmosphere. This city hall is truly for all residents to play, work, and govern.

The buildings were designed for maximum efficiency, while taking advantage of the full waterfront exposure for both the new city hall and recreation center. Floor to ceiling windows in the multi-purpose room and fitness center offer waterfront views, as do the city hall offices. A covered boardwalk fronts the city hall entrance, then wraps around to create a deck behind the multi-purpose building. The special event spaces are all adjacent to the water.

The commission chamber is available to residents for community events. The chamber is extracted from the typical interior location and is exposed as a transparent volume that serves both as a place of civic engagement and as a lantern that invites people to the expansive park and waterfront edge.

A permanent stage and concert area has attracted such acts as Sugar Ray, Boy George with Culture Club, Everclear, and The Wailers. Three baseball/softball fields, two tennis courts, and a basketball court each have water views. ROC Park, initiated by nonprofit Remember Our Children, features paved walkways, fountains, engraved stones, a “Lock Palm Tree” and sitting areas spread throughout. A reflection area looks over the waters of Boca Ciega Bay, and the liveliness of the recreation center and patrons enjoying the grounds foster a positive and familial atmosphere.

The former city hall was about 50 years old when demolished in 2014. The city of Madeira Beach opened the new City Hall in 2015. The complex is designed to last 75 years.

The award will be presented to the Madeira Board City Commission on Dec. 13.

Recognizing built projects by licensed individuals or firms from any category, the highest honor for design excellence awarded by AIA Tampa Bay is named for the late H. Dean Rowe, FAIA – an award-winning designer and mentor to many of Tampa’s talented architects. Each year, AIA Tampa Bay honors architects, philanthropists, public servants, and organizations committed to improving communities through design excellence, and for outstanding accomplishments and service to the architecture profession and the community.

The American Institute of Architects is the professional association for architects and the architecture field. AIA Tampa Bay is the regional chapter representing approximately 650 members in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Pasco counties. The AIA provides programs and services including educational programs, design competitions, community service programs and serves as the united voice of the architecture profession. The regional chapter office is located in Ybor City.

Founded more than 20 years ago, Wannemacher Jensen is an architecture firm in St. Petersburg that designs a variety of spaces for working, living, and playing. WJA’s roster of high-profile projects includes buildings, facilities, parks, entertainment venues, and more throughout Florida.

Projects and other information are available at WJArc­.com, Facebook, and Pinterest.

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