Creating Community Spaces: RVi’s Vision for the City of Maitland’s Public Library

By Ryan Seacrist

In the heart of Maitland, Florida, a vibrant cultural campus is taking shape, thanks to the collaborative efforts between RVi Planning + Landscape Architecture, HBM Architects, and the City of Maitland. RVi’s latest project involves the development of a site master plan for a 20,000-square-foot library and the transformation of the adjacent 2.5-acre city park known as Quinn Strong Park. This undertaking aims to weave together community, culture, and green spaces to enhance the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.

 

A new hub for Maitland art, culture, history, and nature

As the principal for this project here in Florida, I had the chance to lead our team in bringing this project to life. At the core of RVi’s vision for this library is the creation of a seamless pedestrian experience that connects the corner of Packwood Avenue and Maitland Avenue to Quinn Strong Park through the newly designed Maitland Public Library by HBM Architects. This innovative design encourages a natural flow, inviting individuals to explore the cultural treasures nestled within the heart of the city. The library serves as a central hub and a gateway to the broader cultural campus that includes an art and history museum along with the Lake Lily Park event space just down the road.

Not only did we aim to build for the future, but the project also honors the past through the renovation of the current historical library building. This site, situated south of Quinn Strong Park, is set to undergo a transformation that preserves its character while ensuring it remains a functional and relevant part of the community. The integration of the historical library into the broader cultural campus serves as a testament to Maitland’s commitment to preserving its rich heritage.

 

Designed with the community in mind

RVi’s scope of work for the Maitland Public Library project is comprehensive and designed to cater to the needs of the community. The site master plan lays the foundation for a cohesive and functional space. Key features of the project include the renovation of City Park, the creation of open green spaces, the development of a sensory garden, the establishment of an entry plaza, and the incorporation of a stormwater feature.

RVi understands the importance of open and flexible green spaces in fostering a sense of community and well-being, and we carefully incorporated those elements into the library’s design. While the open space has the ability to support community social events and library programming, it is also designed with more intimate spaces for Maitland residents to relax, connect, and engage with nature day-to-day. Quinn Strong Park in particular is poised to become a community focal point, offering a serene retreat within the bustling city.

One standout feature of our design is the inclusion of a sensory garden, catering to individuals of all ages and abilities. In addition to supporting children’s programming within the library, this thoughtfully crafted space creates an inclusive environment for everyone to enjoy. The sensory garden not only adds aesthetic value but also promotes accessibility, ensuring that the cultural campus is open and welcoming to all members of the community.

 

RVi’s future participation in the project

Currently, the project is in the last stages of Maitland City Council approval for the conceptual design. In early 2024, RVi will engage in the schematic and technical design of the project, which is planned for groundbreaking in 2025.

As RVi continues to work hand in hand with the City of Maitland, the vision for the Maitland Public Library and Quinn Strong Park is rapidly taking shape. This project exemplifies the transformative power of thoughtful urban planning, seamlessly blending history, culture, and green spaces into a tapestry that enhances the community’s vibrancy. As Maitland prepares to unveil its new cultural hub, it is clear that our dedication to creating functional, aesthetically pleasing, and inclusive spaces will leave a lasting impact on the city and its residents for generations to come.