Workscape is a conceptual design study of business campus typologies conducted for two representative redevelopment sites in Gainesville, Florida.

Project Objective

The project evaluated land development approval process alternatives; developed strategies for accelerating the development approval process (pre-approving sites); tested innovative design concepts (creative culture workplace); integrated sustainable design practices; engaged community design principles; and provided visioning proposals that promote public and private collaboration toward quality design.  

Creative culture workplace innovations were studied through research and field visits to Google, Intel, and IDEO corporate headquarters in northern California.  Sustainable practices were adapted from case study research of design award-winning sustainable office buildings from the mid-20th Century through 2007 that integrate passive and active building technologies as an integrated part of the building design.  Community design initiatives are achieved through a combination of Transit Oriented Design (TOD), activity centers, new urbanist, mixed-use, and integrated recreational facilities.

A project team was assembled that includes faculty, colleagues, and students from the different fields of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Planning to gather and translate relevant information, conduct case study analysis and field investigations, develop site and area design strategies, develop specific design proposals, and respond to community feedback.

A project Steering Committee was formed in the initial phases of the project to review, evaluate, and make suggestions that will prioritize issues and focus the work of the project team as the project proceeds. The proposals are based on existing site constraints and the land development code while promoting innovative strategies for water management, photovoltaic power generation, and enhanced site biodiversity.

Designs are presented as forward-looking conceptual proposals that could be feasibly developed. The proposals incorporate typical structural systems, building enclosure methodologies, and code-compliant circulations systems. Innovative elements typically focus on the building skin in terms of filtering daylight, shading the structure linking exterior usable space, and providing views to the building occupants.

The 2007 Space & Land Report, compiled by the Special Task Force of the Council for Economic Outreach (CEO) addressed the community’s inability to meet prospective businesses’ requests for ‘ready’ office space and/or suitable vacant land that could be quickly developed. During a 15-month period, the CEO had requests for 1.8 million square feet of office space and only 0.5 million square feet could be provided. This project addressed the findings that an improved land development approval process could facilitate economic development in the area.

Two Selected Sites

Two sites were selected for a study that exemplifies a range of development constraints typical in our area. The two selected sites represent a reasonably ready land use (Fairgrounds site) and a more complicated annexation and land-use change scenario (Williston Road site). Of course, many sites will vary with subtle differences. These sites do represent the typical range of issues that a development group would encounter.

1) Waldo

The ‘Old Fairgrounds Site’ (currently still the fairgrounds) on the corner of Waldo Road and NE 39th Avenue was selected as it is in the process of being designated as Business Industrial land use which would be appropriate for a mixed-use office park and it is strategically placed in terms of multi-modal transportation connections. It is in a sensitive ecological area as a primary watershed to Newnan’s Lake — a degraded water body.

Brand + Culture

Ruben Ramos

Connecting City and Nature

Jennifer Mackey

Office Node

Odenis Vitoreli, Jr.

Peripheral Workspace

Matthew Judge


Dorina Bakiri

Expanding the Cubicle

Wesley Hogan

2) Williston

The second site (Williston Road and SW 29th Drive) lies between Williston Road and the Oak Hammock resort-style retirement community. The site has high proximity to I-75, is part of a designated activity center, and is along the existing RTS bus Route 35. The site is in the Seranola ecological overlay district that establishes parameters for maintaining the natural ecology, tree canopy, and regional biodiversity. This site is in the County, adjacent to the city, and zoned Office and Institutional. Annexation into the City of Gainesville and land-use changes are recommended for optimal development of the site (highest and best use).

Corporate Landscape

Sihui Ma

Ecological Office

Lindsey Davis

Innovate/ Active

Maya Joannides

Urban Forest

Catherine Fang

Workspace Parallax

Jennifer Szilagyi

Waldo Rd Site Proposals

Brand + Culture – Ruben Ramos

The integration of sign and context becomes the fabric of the infrastructure. It starts at the “Sign Garden” located on the corner of NE 39th Ave and Waldo Road and then becomes the tectonics that creates community spaces. The signs also act like informational beacons. This site is located adjacent to the Gainesville Airport and allows for mass transit to and from the site. The Sign Garden acts as a gateway into the city and a funnel into the site. The building footprint is based on a grid and a modular system developed to allow for the flexibility of choice for the client moving into the office spaces. The modules are offset to allow for outdoor meeting areas.

The layout of the individual buildings can be organized according to an orientation on the site as well as the personal preference of the intended occupying client. There is a variety of combinations that can be adopted. The modular arrangement of the square floor plates (2500 square feet) and rectangular floor plates (7500 square feet) provide an opportunity for exterior meeting areas or spaces used for lunch and breaks. Depending on the size of the inhabiting companies, several firms can co-exist in the same building.

The architectural shading elements of the facade double as the informational signage of the occupying agencies. The signs on the shading louvers are designed to change according to the angle at which it is being viewed. Having the photovoltaic (PV) panels aligned vertically allow for optimum solar absorption as well as an interpretive sign of sustainable architecture.

Connecting City and Nature – Jennifer Mackey

The ensemble of office buildings and intersecting promenades are the result of the need to minimize the building footprint by densifying the site on the street corner. Through density, the carbon footprint is reduced by lessening the need for the automobile. The promenades also offer more accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists through different microclimates of vegetation, open fields, places to rest, and secondary plazas for socializing.

The new mixed-use office/nature park acts as a gateway into the city of Gainesville. The visual impact of the complex occupying the street edge opens a framed view from the Waldo Road corridor into the heart of the project. The site also invites the city by placing the future rapid transit stop and bike path at the visual entrance of the site.

A series of services are provided within the site to meet the needs of the visitors and residents of Gainesville including several retail stores and restaurants, corporate offices above, and a hotel. The site also has rentable pavilions, a wide range of sports facilities, nature paths for bicyclists and pedestrians, and an observation tower overlooking the new lake.

The planning challenge was to offer increased accessibility for what the site will offer. This was done by creating two promenades that intersected at the heart of buildings: the Sports Promenade and Greenway. The Greenway connects bicyclists and pedestrians throughout the site to engage people in the park’s natural and untouched side. A transitional rhythm is made by native vegetation landscaped into the promenade. The rhythm causes people to shift in path and pace while leading in one direction. The second line of the axis, the Sports Promenade, is the path that connects the offices to the sports park. As one moves down the promenade, they are confronted by different sports fields such as basketball, volleyball, tennis, soccer, baseball, and racquetball.

Car use in the Sports Promenade is limited to only exclusive parking for people driving hybrid cars, compact cars, and those who carpool. The two parking garages are the primary means of parking and are located centrally for better access to the buildings. The architectural building systems are designed to conserve non-renewable energy.

The façades express sustainable functionalism while making a rhythmic and flexible module of metal panels, solar panels, and windows with operable louvers. The solar panels are placed along the southern, eastern, and western facades of the buildings as well as the overhead condition of the atriums. Green roofs are on all buildings where water is filtered and collected into the onsite reflecting pools that provide irrigation to all the landscaping. Natural daylighting is integrated as lightwells throughout each building. The light is also used as a device to connect public spaces within the building.

Office Node – Odenis Vitoreli, Jr.

The component parts of the innovative office create spaces that promote communal interaction and dissolve the boundaries between work, leisure, ecology, and technology.

Day-light: North-south orientation of the buildings, and 60 feet width of the floor plate provide for maximum use of daylight. The utility core is located on the East and West extremities to minimize heat gain. The south side uses a screen device that collects solar energy and provides shade to the facade of the building.

Hydrology: Create a wetland system through the site to naturally filter stormwater.

The site proposal retains most of the existing tree canopy coverage. Green Roofs: Improve stormwater management, insulation, and microclimate of the area.

Peripheral Workspace – Matthew Judge

In facilitation of a creative culture work scape wherein the standard cubicle-dominated office, the plan is outmoded by an open and customizable interface whose multiple points of informal gathering and communication lead to the cross-pollination of ideas, a central plaza at the corner of Waldo Road and NE 39th Avenue is bounded by pivoting blocks of office, retail, hotel, and recreation to serve as a blended exterior zone where the paths of office workers, shoppers, bicyclists, hotel guests, and other pedestrians intermix.

At the building scale, extended balconies with photovoltaic panels on the south façade shade the building and provide quick access to fresh air for employees to work, read, converse, or observe. At the scale of the site, employees can further connect with nature as the central plaza funnels eastward into a promenade around a community sports park, then transitions into a boardwalk through the natural pine forest and wet marsh landscapes, and finally culminates into a dock overlooking a mitigated wetland.

This transitional promenade becomes an amenity to east Gainesville, where new jobs, shops, sports facilities, bike paths, and parks can rejuvenate the area’s identity. Moreover, the promenade becomes an extension of the interior work scape to provide various exterior points where creative and innovative ideas are developed by reconnecting with nature: A marketing meeting in a pine forest; A lunchtime bike ride; A proposal-writing session on the dock.

Umbrella – Dorina Bakiri

The proposal is focused to create office spaces that bring the innovative culture to the city of Gainesville as well as addressing issues like climate, energy, hydrology, and transportation.

The idea of this design proposal is to create a center that offers office spaces, retail, and recreation parks. The programs interlock with each other, in a way to gives the area a feeling of community and a human scale. The design also deals with issues of transportation, parking, and weather conditions in Florida. Sidewalks, bike paths, bus stops, and streets for cars not only connect the buildings on the property but the adjacent areas as well. A new road, that cut the site in half, connects N.E. 39th street with the airport. Bike paths connect with the existing system and continue through the site into the wooded area.

A series of parking garages are located underground, covering an area of more than 5 buildings. These garages provide enough parking spaces not only for the buildings above but for visitors and other buildings too. The main pedestrian entrance/exit to the garages is done through a 20 feet wide staircase, located strategically in the middle of the main plaza above.

The goal of this staircase is to offer a pleasant walk from the garage, through the covered public park to the final destination ]office[; as well as a meeting point for employees of different offices. The design incorporates an umbrella-type roof that covers adjacent buildings and outdoor spaces. Considering the high temperatures and rain precipitation in Florida, this very light roof will provide not only sufficient shading and coverage but will help with keeping the building cool during high temperatures, holding solar panels, as well as collecting rainwater.

Expanding the Cubicle – Wesley Hogan

Williston Rd Site Proposals

Corporate Landspace – Sihui Ma

The project seeks to provide the city of Gainesville with a corporate park, and along with it, a place for community gathering. The site offers a varied landscape approach, ranging from shallow water features to green atriums and shade. The building form is a continuation of the green-scape and ecology surrounding the site, with the two office buildings acting as enclosures, protecting the interior courtyard spaces. Traffic enters through the main entrance on the east side of the site and is greeted by an overhang that houses the executive offices.

The first floor of each building is reserved for commerce, ranging from small coffee shops to local art stores. It is intended to provide the community a place for strolling and window shopping during off-store hours. Levels two and above are intended for corporate use, in the hopes of attracting biotechnology companies as well as others.

Ecological Office – Lindsey Davis

The site organization for the Ecological Office is designed to enhance pedestrian, bicycle, and bus movement. The design has two phases of office buildings and a parking garage located on the west side of SW 29th Avenue. The three buildings are interconnected by a thread that allows pedestrian movement from the parking garage to the office buildings and then to the health trails over the wetlands. The orientation of the buildings is organized to increase exposure at the vital corner of Williston and SW 29th Avenue as well as become a connector within the city of Gainesville.

The project focuses on water harvesting which occurs at five distinct points. The water collection strategy has a significant impact on energy saving and it becomes an event as it is seen from vantage points such as the intersection of Williston Road and SW 29th Avenue. The water is collected from the undulating design of the roofs, which have varying heights, allowing the water to drain off in different ways. The water will drain off in a sheet near the exterior ramp and will drain off more precisely as a point of water in other areas. The water features become part of the building with views of them from the interior and exterior of the building.

Innovate/ Active – Maya Joannides

The proposal for the Williston Road site is divided into four separate buildings. Three of the buildings are office flex spaces and one building is a parking garage. The organization of the buildings provides a campus feel workplace. The lightweight airy roof on all three office buildings provides shade and a place for employees to informally meet as well as work outside.

The roof has other sustainable strategies by also collecting rainwater. The design of the buildings allows for visibility from Williston Road and creates an open corner to bring people into the space. The bus stop filters from Williston Road to the offices as well as the northern portion of the Oak Hammock community. The sustainable roof creates an iconic workplace environment for the city of Gainesville. There are pedestrian paths surrounding all buildings which filter into the wetlands with proposed health trails and outside informal meeting areas.

Urban Forest – Catherine Fang

The Creative Culture Office promotes connectivity and human interaction throughout Gainesville, Fl. It brings an identity to Gainesville that will no longer make Gainesville a simple point along the way, easily passed by, but instead, a destination, a point of attraction and draw.

The Transformation will occur specific to the site on three levels and at three scales: county-wide, city-wide, and office-wide. As an economic stimulus, providing jobs, the office will attract the working class from nearby cities within Alachua county drawing a variety of people types to the site. The various public spaces of the site will serve as the catalyst for community involvement within Gainesville, with passive and active public functions. Within the office site itself, amenities for the workforce will promote a daily life associated with the workplace, breaking down the walls of separation and the isolation that has been created between “life” and the workplace. Amenities will include daycare, cafeteria/lounge, cafe, a gymnasium, and health-promoting nature trails.

The Office grounds have two main public exterior spaces that serve as public plazas. Their function includes both that of the active and the passive. Active events will generally be pre-planned events including concerts, farmer’s markets, art shows/displays, drama performances, festivals, and auctions. Passive events will be performed on a daily basis by the occupants, including sitting, reading, people watching, eating, sleeping, and relaxing

Workspace Parallax – Jennifer Szilagyi

The creative workspaces mix in the program of office community space, micro kitchens, and flex office space, both private and public with the typical office workstation. A program that requires privacy or is typically more massive in volume is used to create a dense program core in the center of the building. Office workspaces have an abundance of natural light from curtain walls with external shading devices.

Office Organization Rules:

  1. Built-in and tall walled cubicles must have
    daylighting access.
  2. To optimize daylighting the majority, if not of
    the walls must be permeable to light
  3. The solid mass program, such as private meeting
    rooms, vertical circulation, mechanical spaces,
    and closed storage should be grouped to the
    center of the space to reduce daylight obstruction
  4. Cross office circulation must happen through
    solid mass programing
  5. Seas of cubicles must be broken in repetition and pattern by different programmed spaces, such as community/tech-talk areas
  6. Outside balconies provided needed places for private cell phone conversations
  7. There are four critical types of desktop workspace: short walled cubical, tall walled cubical, built-in
    workspace, open table workspace
  8. Whiteboard walls are critical
  9. Kitchenettes, and community/office-talk areas are required
  10. End-user customization is greatly appreciated