Happy Birthday Bonnet Springs Park!
We find ourselves at the third anniversary of ownership of the Bonnet Springs Park property (formerly the historic Lakeland Railyards), purchased in December 2015.
The fear of opportunities lost coupled with the belief that a great park is a quality of life necessity for current and future generations was motivation for Carol and Barney Barnett to support the concepts for use of this land. Local realtor David Bunch had been involved in several iterations of developments for the property for almost 30 years, but presented to the Barnett Family the geographical significance of this site in relation to downtown Lakeland and its potential to be a great park.
Former Parks and Recreation Director Bill Tinsley was brought into the founding group and Windsong Park Inc., a 501c3 organization, was established with the singular purpose of developing a world class urban park serving Central Florida.
The rapid growth and successes of this 3+ year journey would not have happened without the visionary and financial support of the Barnetts. Enabling steps included the acquisition of the land and required access. They also provided necessary input and resources to bring Sasaki, an international urban design firm from Boston, to Lakeland to involve the greater Lakeland community in the full design process.
Lakeland will always be a better place because the Barnett Family had the vision and enabled this inclusive and innovative park that will offer the benefits unique to a major city park.
Now we are nearing that time when we should ask, “How can I help support this community effort?”
Thermal Comfort and Energy Efficient Building Design Strategies
One of the guiding design principles for Bonnet Springs Park is to provide visitors with an immersive, educational experience that brings ecology and natural systems to light. This ethos extends well into the design of the buildings as well, with the idea that every building provides that same level of connectedness between indoors and outdoors by incorporating lots of doorways and transparent glass for maximizing views and access to nature.
Climate control, access to daylight and views to nature are all human comfort strategies that are important to any sustainable design solution. However, these design features can also greatly impact the mechanical systems needed to keep spaces cool and dry. Add to that the intense Florida sun and humid climate and you have a real design challenge.
All buildings at Bonnet Springs Park incorporate many common regional design strategies found in warm, humid climates like Florida’s to help mitigate these climatic challenges – and we are using state of the art technology to test the performance of our designs. These strategies include deep roof overhangs, adjustable shutters, and tall ventilated spaces that help induce the convection of hot air up and out of the cooled spaces.
Here are a few examples of how we are incorporating these strategies in the Nature Center:
At high noon, when the sun is high in the sky, deep roof overhangs protect the tall glass curtainwall of the cafe from exposure to direct sun, while providing amazing views to the Lake Bonnet Lagoon and wetland forest beyond.
However late in afternoon, when the sun is lower in the sky, daylight streams in causing the potential for extreme glare and heat gain in the space. This is a snapshot from a software program called “Insight Lighting Analysis” that shows the intensities of light at 3PM on June 21.
By incorporating wood shutters on the western glass of the cafe, we can greatly cut down on the amount of direct daylight light entering the space, but still allowing indirect light in and views out.
Here is the same sunlight analysis in late afternoon showing how the shutters impact the space by greatly cutting down on direct sunlight. In this extreme condition, the shutters allow us to mitigate the intense sun, while still maintaining the important connections to nature.
The tall space of the cafe incorporates a high clerestory window facing north. When opened, these windows help ventilate the space by sending hot air up and out of the cafe’, helping to keep the space cool.
Board Members David & Jean Bunch Named December’s CityMakers
Happy Holidays & Happy New Year from all of us at Bonnet Springs!