Neighborhood Gathering Place
Galvanized aluminum highlights new waterfront food truck pavilion
Celebration Park, a fixed food truck park in Naples, Fla., is the brainchild of local restaurateur Rebecca Maddox, owner of the nearby Three60 Market. Designed by local firm, David Corban Architects, Naples, the food truck park consists of a 3,500-square-foot open-air pavilion and a 350-square-foot bathroom/storage area set on a 3/4-acre parcel of land.
Design Award Judge Lewis McNeel, AIA, associate, Lake|Flato Architects, San Antonio, says he appreciated Celebration Park for trying to make some meaningful outdoor space with simple, natural materials that didn’t rely on any special coatings or colors. The honest expression of the structure, and the simplicity of the space, led the judges to award it the 2019 Metal Architecture Design Award in the Natural Metals category. “It’s celebrating structure and the natural materiality of metal, while being detailed in really cool ways. It’s always nice to see the marriage of structure and material expressed really well,” McNeel says.
David Corban, who is friends with the owner, says she wanted to have a waterfront place for locals to go and hang out with family and friends. “Most of the restaurants and bars in Naples are built in very exclusive, gentrified neighborhoods,” he says. “So [Maddox] wanted to do something different, and she has always liked the thrown together food truck parks you see in many large cities.” However, these improvised parks often lack basic amenities found in traditional restaurants.
Much like her successful restaurant, Maddox wanted to locate the food truck park in a community redevelopment area or CRA. A CRA is an area where new development is encouraged in blighted or underserved neighborhoods. The placement of the eight food trucks forms an urban outdoor space, taking cues from traditional outdoor markets where customers walk down aisles perusing vendors’ offerings. “It’s as though you’re walking down the street with small buildings on each side,” Corban explains.
Entering the park, patrons pass through a gate formed by arranging service functions including bathrooms and trash enclosures along the north edge of the property. Moving through the aisle of food trucks, pedestrians are drawn to the open-air tiki bar, terminating the vista.
Situated in an area where new developments, including restaurants, attempt to transport visitors to another place, Corban says they wanted to embrace Florida. For example, the use of galvanized steel pays homage to the surrounding working waterfront aesthetic.
“We used galvanized steel because we wanted the shade structure over the bar area to be as open as possible,” Corban says. The lightweight structure is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds up to 170 mph, and as it is in a flood-prone area, storm surge waters can rise and recede without damaging the structure. “After a tropical storm event, one just picks up the palm fronds and hoses off the deck and the park is ready to go!”
The tiki bar utilizes ancient, passive cooling technologies employed by the Calusa Indians and Florida Crackers. While the openness and shapes of the steel tubes are reminiscent of the old Calusa Chickee huts, it’s the open roof that is key to the cooling effect. Cooling breezes are drawn across the waterway and through the shade structure, forming a microclimate that is 10 to 12 degrees cooler than surrounding areas. “The galvanized roof elements are very reflective, so they don’t hold heat, and rather than making the underside of the roof hot, radiant heat is reflected back up into the sky,” explains Corban. Any warm air that is generated by the surrounding site elements is able to rise through the sawtooth openings.
Another advantage of the sawtooth roof is that it is the perfect slope for solar panels to have maximum sun exposure. While the project doesn’t currently have solar panels, Corban is hopeful that it will sometime in the near future.
Simple Building Blocks
As with all projects, sustainability was important to the project team, so in addition to 100 percent recycled steel, the project features permeable pavers, native landscaping and a mangrove preserve. For a local touch, the park also includes local concrete block and cypress wood, a traditional building material. “The use of the galvanized steel really has a lot to do with resiliency,” says Corban. “We’re right on Haldeman Creek, a tidal water body that empties into the Gulf of Mexico, and you wake up every morning to a film of salt on everything. The salt just gets into everything. Galvanizing the steel keeps it from degrading over time, and properly prepared steel will last for decades in that environment.” On that note, Corban says they worked with the installers to make sure that wherever possible they used bolted connections, instead of connections welded on-site, which aids in the strength and resiliency of the structure.
The galvanized steel also highlights the sailboat masts, T-tops and boat jack stands seen in local boat yards. “We wanted to use some of the basic materials that everyone is used to seeing in the area even if they are not traditionally used in buildings,” Corban says. “We didn’t want to do something that really looked foreign in the neighborhood. By using steel as the main construction material and rather than trying to hide it, but actually bringing attention to it, we were able to make a beautiful and functional structure that fits seamlessly into the neighborhood.”
All in all, the project includes 47,000 pounds of steel. In addition to the Galvalume-coated aluminum metal roof panels there is powder-coated aluminum rails and custom aluminum gutters, as well as hot-dipped galvanized round and square tubes, W-sections, plates, channels and angles. Miami Metal Deck, Miami Gardens, Fla., supplied the metal roof panels; American Metals Supply Inc., Tampa, supplied the aluminum; Tampa Bay Steel Corp., Tampa, supplied the red iron; and South Atlantic LLC–Florida, Mulberry, Fla., did the galvanizing.
“Our goal of creating a true community space has been realized at Celebration Park,” says Corban. “In Naples, traditionally a community of exclusion, Celebration has become the space where citizens of all demographics, races and nationalities gather to eat, drink and socialize. It is not unusual to see Bentleys in the parking lot and rusty bikes in the racks.”
Since opening in November 2018, the park has become very popular, making it the most popular food and drink venue of any kind in Southwest Florida. “I think it’s interesting,” Corban says, “that it’s not so much about the food or drink, but it’s the ability to gather together on the waterfront and have a good time. We like to think that the architecture has a lot to do with that.”
Original article can be read here on Metal Architecture