LEGOLAND® earns Landscape Architecture honors

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LEGOLAND® Florida has been selected as the winner of a prestigious Award of Honor from the Florida Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The awards selection committee felt that the LEGOLAND® Florida project efforts stood out in exemplifying excellence in landscape architecture, and going above and beyond what would typically be thought of. Morris (MorrisTerra) along with ValleyCrest Design maintained 80% of the existing trees on site, often redesigning or relocating attractions and buildings to ensure that the trees would remain. In addition, the team relocated 20 mature specimens within the property, creating an instant “has been there forever” feeling in parts of the park, and improving the character of the spaces. The trees are one of, if not THE most important element in the feeling created at opening like no other park. The Landscape Architects, with the help of an arborist, studied each existing tree’s location, which were then documented and cataloged for its location relative to the conceptual masterplan, current health and appearance, expected viability during and after construction, and its ultimate value to guest experience. The Landscape Architects massaged, or in some cases redesigned the site plan many times over to minimize impact on existing tree canopy. Through those efforts, over eighty percent of the existing canopy on the property was able to be preserved in place. In addition, 20 large specimen trees weighing up to 78,000 pounds each were relocated by crane to strategic locations within the property, providing an instant character that many parks wait years and years to attain. LEGOLAND Florida is built on the former site of Cypress Gardens, Florida’s first theme park. The new park, designed to be a Park within a Park, is a place for families and kids 2-12 to enjoy together in a parklike setting with mindblowing LEGO models. Elements of Cypress Gardens were recycled for sustainability and budget including the majority of existing tree canopy, maintained or moved to create the “Most beautiful LEGOLAND in the world.” All existing concrete from Cypress Gardens’ non-ADA compliant walkways was recycled, separated, and ground for reuse as the sub-base for all the new hardscape areas within the park, substantially reducing the amount of material that would have to be sent to the landfill. Recycling old materials and reusing many of the existing assets of the historic Cypress Gardens gives LEGOLAND Florida a feel different than any other theme park. The intimate scale of the buildings, the extensive canopy of mature large trees, and the inclusion of the amazing LEGO models gives LEGOLAND Florida a genuine character unlike any other.

The Florida Chapter will celebrate all award winning firms and students during its Annual Conference being held at the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville, Florida. The Annual Design Awards Gala is scheduled for 6:00 PM Friday, July 18, 2013 and attendance is open to all conference registrants and the general public.