Positioned on the shores of Sarasota Bay between the urban core of the city and an adjacent residential neighborhood, sits Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the world’s only botanical research garden specializing in epiphytes, or air plants, such as orchids and bromeliads. Since its inception, Selby Gardens has become a leading botanical garden in the United States and around the world. In order to ensure the longevity of its irreplaceable collections and fulfill its mission of conservation research, education, and inclusivity, a plan was crafted, which identified three requirements:

1) Grow the Gardens

2) Reveal the Hidden Treasures

3) Safeguard the Future

From this, an ambitious program was generated to consolidate functions previously housed in disparate, dilapidated structures located in at-risk storm surge areas, into resilient, modernized facilities.  These new structures will expand educational offerings and experiences to the general public, highlight the robust scientific collections and research of the Gardens, showcase art exhibitions, and provide a unique hyperlocal “roof-to-table” culinary experience. The facility will also serve as a model of regenerative design and operations for botanical gardens worldwide, currently pursuing Living Community Challenge Petal Certification and two Living Building Challenge Petal Certifications. Mimicking the epiphytes for which Selby is famous, this Living Community Challenge project aims to exist in symbiotic harmony with its place in the world and inspire others to incorporate this principle of Living Lightly on the Land into their own lives.

Images: Courtesy of Overland and WP Visions