Seeking an elegant, first-of-its-kind design for the new St. Armands Circle Parking Garage, the City of Sarasota, Florida, along with Solstice Planning and Architecture and Kimley-Horn Engineering, turned to Cambridge Architectural and its
concept of creating a series of tensioned spiral mesh panels for the structure’s façade.
The $12-million, 480-space garage, which opened in February 2019, provides public parking for patrons visiting St. Armands Circle’s elegant shops and restaurants as well as for patients and staff of Sarasota Memorial’s urgent care center.
Craftsmen at Cambridge’s manufacturing facility on Maryland’s Eastern Shore wove 525 vertical metal mesh panels with 250,000 individual welds done by hand.
At installation, each mesh panel was given a single twist in the field, which is reflected in the name of the new proprietary mesh system: Volution. Custom outriggers set the panels off the building.
“Everyone got onboard with Cambridge’s collaboration and their ability to pull off something no one had ever seen,” said Jonathan Parks, Senior Principal at Sarasota-based Solstice.
“The mesh spirals provided a softness to the project. It was like jewelry that was integral to the success of the design.”
Located on St. Armands Key in Sarasota Bay, the parking facility is bordered to the north and east by luxury island and waterfront homes.
City of Sarasota Parking Manager Mark Lyons said it was important that the garage be integrated into the surrounding neighborhood and deliver on a unique aesthetic design desired by the community.
“Cambridge was very helpful in providing their time and demonstrating a live mock up that helped us make a decision to use their materials,” Lyons said. “Residents to date are loving it; they never thought it would look so good.”
Mesh screening is required on all parking garages in Sarasota that face residential properties, according to Mark Santos, P.E., Parking Practice Builder at Kimley-Horn Planning and Design Engineering Consultants, Plantation, FL.
“The mesh provides a visual screen for the adjacent neighbors to break up the linear nature of the garage, along with dissipating light spillage,” he said.
Twenty-two horizontal eyebolt-tensioned parking screens from Cambridge provide ventilation for other less visible areas of the garage
The new parking garage features a bike repair station, free air, five electric car-charging stations, public bathrooms, a unique interior staircase and interior lightwell. Rooftop solar panels are being installed next to the garage to generate power.
The project's general contractor was Jon F. Swift Construction of Sarasota. Handling the installation was Litchfield, OH's L & S Erectors.