2021 AIA Small Project Awards: Celebration Park by David Corban Architect, pllc
Category: Up to $1.5 million in construction cost (category two)
Ringed by exclusive, high-end restaurants in an affluent coastal town, Celebration Park in Naples, Florida, is a new building type bolstering a neighborhood that has suffered from economic blight. Taking its cues from traditional outdoor markets, Celebration Park is a food truck park that features permanent services, including a bar and shade structure. Both new and familiar, food trucks are arranged much like vendors’ tents, beckoning diners to engage with the open-air structure on the water’s edge.
The client has been an early advocate for redevelopment in the area, having previously opened a restaurant and retail wine shop that caters to both affluent and working-class customers. Her idea to create a food truck park required rewriting the zoning code, a process that took nearly three years. Once the entitlement process was completed, construction required a mere nine months.
“The project is as much about their story as it is about their design.” – Jury comment
“A unique interpretation through an effective, bare-bones, and rustic project design. The project has a strong narrative and a very high community impact by blurring the lines between public and private relationships,” said the jury. “The project is as much about their story as it is about their design.”
The site presented the team with a rare opportunity to respond to a natural and urban context. It relies on materials such as galvanized steel, cypress, and crushed shells to fit into the working waterfront aesthetic and provide a resilient structure.
Given its adjacency to a navigable waterway, the project required a careful environmental impact study. The team enhanced two mangrove fringes along the water’s edge, trimming them but not reducing their area. Signage reminds patrons who arrive by boat, parking in one of the Celebration Park’s dozen slips, that endangered West Indies manatees live in the surrounding waters. No glass or reflective materials were used in construction to ensure the safety of the ospreys, herons, and ibises spotted on the property.
“A unique interpretation through an effective, bare-bones, and rustic project design. The project has a strong narrative and a very high community impact by blurring the lines between public and private relationships.” – Jury comment
Since its opening, Celebration Park has proven to be a successful venture with a significant impact on the local and regional community. As one of the busiest and most profitable dining operations in the region, it regularly draws people from all walks of life and backgrounds, even during the hottest days of the summer. It’s not uncommon to see luxury cars parked in the parking lot while bikes in various states of repair line the park’s racks.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Celebration Park continued to operate smoothly. The client implemented a mask mandate, and social distancing required the removal of several tables. Despite that, the park hardly missed a beat.
Engineer Civil: Q. Grady Minor
Engineer MEP: OCI Associates
Engineer Structural: Select Structural
General Contractor: Acadian Builders
Landscape Architect: Emerge Design
Environmental Engineer: Turrell Hall and Associates
Bhaskar Srivastava, AIA, (Chair), dencityworks, Brooklyn, NY
Kevin Erickson, School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
Jonah Stanford, AIA, NeedBased, Santa Fe, NM
Janeen Harrell, AIA, Janeen Harrel Architect, GREC Architects, Chicago, IL