Florida Citrus Bowl Recognized for Excellence in Development

Jay R. Hood

Author: Jay R. Hood Posted on: Jul 15 2015

On February 25th, the 26th Annual Golden Brick Awards was held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando. Over 50 awards were given out at this sell-out event to development and community projects that positively impacted Downtown Orlando in 2014. The Orlando Citrus Bowl Reconstruction project received two awards that night:

• The 2014 Golden Brick Award for Public Projects
• The 2014 Award of Excellence - Top prize!

This was a great collaborative effort and the Littlejohn Landscape Architecture team is proud to have worked with HNTB Architects and the City of Orlando on this exciting landmark project.

Florida Citrus Bowl - Streescape
Florida Citrus Bowl - Streescape

About the Project
The original bowl was built in 1936 with a capacity of approximately 9,000. The upper decks were added in 1989. Time had taken its toll, however, and the widely-acclaimed stadium needed to upgrade in order to serve the growing needs of the public. With this long awaited renovation of this 76-year old stadium, the City of Orlando serves as the main venue for our MLS soccer team, the Orlando City Soccer Club. In addition to hosting NCAA Bowl games, the facility will hold large venue concerts and other major events.

The reconstruction was a central piece of Mayor Dyer’s Triple Crown for Downtown an ambitious $1 billion development that included a $480 million arena for the Orlando Magic, a $375 million performing arts center and the $200 million Citrus Bowl reconstruction.

The goal was to create a premiere entertainment and sports venue that will serve as tourist destination. The renovations to the 65,000-seat stadium included complete replacement of the lower bowl, addition of 8,000 club seats, new suites, restrooms and concessions and an improved connection between the stadium site and the surrounding historic Parramore neighborhood. The design also included construction of a new 40-by-90-foot video scoreboard.

My colleague, Bruce Hall, served as project manager for the project, Bruce, myself and our entire team collaborated to developed landscape design concepts that speak to the unique influences of the area including the Citrus Industry, the Parramore Historic District, and the beauty of the areas native flora. The plazas, pre-function and cueing areas create a comfortable and engaging pedestrian realm and provide lasting value for the City of Orlando. As an example of this unique approach, the stadium was designed with landscaped seating areas to encourage casual socializing along the stairs.

Florida Citrus Bowl - Streescape Aerial View

Florida Citrus Bowl - Streescape Aerial View

We also developed multi-purpose concourse and plaza areas that serve as a pre-function and vending for a wide variety of events that are held at the Citrus Bowl. The hardscape is organized by concrete banding that represents the yard lines of the grid iron and is regulated by the structural grid of the new stadium. The Landscape includes ornamental Medjool palms at key entrances and street tree plantings of Washingtonia Palms. Within the hardscape area, rain gardens collect plaza stormwater runoff for infiltration prior to staging up and flowing into a nearby pond.

Public art on the plazas is incorporated into the design at the north and south ends of the project where sculptural arbors of orange bougainvillea provide shade for fans and pay homage to the historic citrus heritage of the area; the Citrus Bowl’s namesake. The focal point of the Church Street plaza is the 40’ tall commissioned piece of public art which incorporates repurposed letters salvaged from the “Orlando” sign which once anchored the north end zone.

The project was on a fast-track schedule to complete the renovations in ten months. Demolition crews removed the lower seating leaving only the upper level seats. In all, approximately 90 percent of the stadium included new construction. The renovations were completed just in time for the Florida Classic football game between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman university that kicked off on November 22.

We are pleased to have worked on this signature project and congratulate all the team members on this great recognition.


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