CTH+A Staff News
Kissimmee City Hall
(Editor's note: Public projects are defined here
as inclusive of local government administration/operations centers and
city halls; recreational and leisure facilities such as convention centers
as well as sports, arts and cultural venues; and public safety facilities
including police, fire and emergency operations centers.)
The process for designing public projects today starts
with identifying and fine-tuning the client's needs, often through programming,
space needs analysis, workshops, master planning and other pre-design
services, and continues with detailed design services, followed by construction
Citrus Bowl Expansion
The design of public facilities has evolved in recent
years in response to the changing needs of the clients. Some of these
changes involve fresh features such as the incorporation of emerging technologies.
Others represent increased emphasis on certain design aspects such as
security and sustainability.
The following is an overview of some areas of relatively
vigorous change we have noted in the course of our service to our public
Joint Use - With local governments needing to serve larger
populations with fewer dollars, there is a noticeable trend toward
the development of public facilities with public or private partners.
As a result, public clients now tend to explore the joint use potential
of upcoming projects at the onset, particularly when it comes to
administrative and recreational centers. Multipurpose areas are
common design features in public facilities today.
For public safety projects, there is increased
emphasis on combining police, fire and emergency dispatch operations
a single large complex. This allows optimum coordination among all
of the departments and eliminates facility redundancy - and the
related costs - in areas such as training rooms, cafeterias, meeting
In terms of client service, the clients and related
stakeholders have become "bigger" in terms of number not
size, making consensus-building a much more dynamic process.
||Security - The terrorist attacks
of 9/11, and now earlier this month in London, as well as natural
disasters as hurricanes have made public entities much more mindful
of the security implications of facility designs. Today, public safety
complexes and city halls tend to be fortified to higher standards
and codes, demand more stringent control over access and movement
within the facilities, and place increasing emphasis on systems redundancy
that would allow self-sufficient operations in hostile circumstances.
Technology - Computers, other electronic devices
and mobile technology have become a part of the fabric of our lives.
So, too, e-government has become the norm. Nearly every local government
has a web presence that not only informs, but services the members
of the community. While this alleviates the traffic-related facility
requirements of city halls and administrative centers, it also puts
a premium on flexible designs that will allow for the expansion of
server as well as user systems in the future.
Orlando Operations Center
- There is a clear and growing emphasis on designing public buildings
as "green" as possible. The intent is to minimize a building's
impact on the natural environment while providing for the health
and comfort of its occupants. As a result, certification and expertise
in LEED has become a valuable asset for architects who are being
challenged more than ever before to achieve the highest practical
levels of energy efficiency, water conservation and use of recycled
The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating
System has been adopted by dozens of state, local, and federal agencies.
To-date, these groups alone have registered almost 750 new construction
projects, totaling over 83 million square feet, according to the
Place Making - There was
a time when city halls stood apart from their communities, emblems
of authority sculpted in sterility that were to be respected, mostly
from a distance. Today, in almost the same breath that public clients
ask for security and aesthetic features in their building-to-be,
they also ask for it to be people-friendly and inviting.
Public clients want facilities that promote vibrant public events
and situations, and reinforce/revitalize surrounding downtown areas.
Civic plazas and squares where people can experience being part
of a distinct community are extremely important to the majority
of local leaders and public servants today.