Florida Gulf Coast University Main Entry
Celebrating Nature in an Urban Campus Environment
Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) celebrates nature in the design of its new main entrance. The overall design aesthetic is meant to create a series of transitions, leading visitors from the bustling commercial context adjacent to the campus into a more naturalistic setting defined by the native environment.
Located at the intersection of FGCU Boulevard and Ben Hill Griffin Parkway, visitors experience a remarkable sense of decompression upon entering the campus and are given a visual and auditory respite from the nearby urban environment. The experience begins with a striking pair of entry monuments; the white concrete structures create a visual threshold to the site by standing in elegant contrast to the darker, earthier hues of the surrounding landscape.
Further in, the environment begins to take on a more natural character, demonstrating the design’s deep respect for both the formal and functional characteristics of the surrounding wetlands and nearby everglades. The entirely native plant palette utilized helps enhance the natural character already found throughout the campus, as well as filter on site stormwater runoff.
All irrigation for the planting design is achieved using a highly efficient drip irrigation system that draws water harvested from an on site stormwater pond, limiting the negative impacts of the surrounding wetlands. The sum effect of these efforts is a distinctly unique expression of both visual beauty and ecological harmony within the surrounding landscape.