Selby Gardens on National Landscape Architecture Radar

Selby Gardens’ President & CEO, photo courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

In September, we shared with you our thoughts on the long awaited plans to revitalize the Sarasota bayfront, and our excitement for the opportunity this creates for our community to be recognized on the national landscape architecture map. Now, we’d like to share some news about another pinpoint on that map: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is an internationally recognized living museum that brings global, living treasures to the public. It is the world’s only botanical research garden specializing in epiphytes: air plants such as orchids and bromeliads.

Selby is looking toward the future, responding to a need demanded by the growth the organization has experienced over the last forty years. Their 15-acre bayfront property is in need of the infrastructure a public botanical garden requires, especially considering future sea level rise, to protect their unique collections. They turned to globally renowned landscape architecture firm OLIN to lead a collaborative team of disciplines in creating a master plan that accommodates the Gardens’ 200,000+ annual visitors, and moves their scientific and living collections out of flood zones and into secure structures, using the latest green building technology.

The plan includes a consolidation of operational functions on the site which will allow for 50% more green space, expanded plant displays, a state-of-the-art welcome center, a demonstration site for sustainable building technology, and a new Sky Garden, allowing the Gardens to double capacity.

OLIN recognizes the importance of landscape architecture to a community, especially one facing challenges related to climate change. The firm invited Selby Gardens’ President and CEO Jennifer Rominiecki to co-present the master plan at the Annual Conference of the American Society of Landscape Architects in October. The presentation was called “Reasonable Uncertainty: A City, a Park, and a Garden Confront Climate Change.” Rominiecki said the presentation was very well received.

“It was exhilarating to see the enthusiastic reception to Selby Gardens’ Master Plan by the national landscape architecture community,” said Rominiecki. “They were excited by the proactive approach of this plan–and our desire to get ahead of the climate change that is predicted. They were also intrigued by the innovation and international leadership of this plan, in setting out to create the world’s first Certified Net Positive Energy Botanical Garden Complex and Restaurant.”

We are excited to be living and working in a community that values thoughtful landscape architecture and design, and look forward to celebrating this evolution with our friends at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Please enjoy this fly-through of Phase One of the plan, prepared by Overland Partners and WP Visions, members of the OLIN team. And for more information on the plan, visit Innovating a Greener Future on the Selby website. 


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