Elegant Turnpike Service Plazas Raise the Bar


This project by Jacobs Global Building Design architects won a 2014 Award of Merit from the AIAOrlando chapter by an independent jury selection. Through a design inspired by Florida’s natural environment, the service plazas have been transformed from previously functional, yet uninviting locations into spaces that celebrate the unique qualities of each location.The project team shaped a new image for six service plazas serving over 25,000 vehicles per day traveling along the 312-mile length of The Florida Turnpike.

The building design was inspired by the naturally occurring elements of the state’s environment. The resultant architecture is one that celebrates water, sun, landscape and the re-use of resources. Because each location is in a unique area with varying environmental conditions, each site showcases the strategy that is appropriate for its place. For example, one is located close to a large lake and a source for fresh water, thus the service plaza showcases the sustainable use and re-use of water. Another showcases the sun, and another the natural landscape.

To further emphasize the environment-inspired design theme, the various locations have mosaic tile “art” insets along the face of the buildings and utilize different interior color schemes. Each mosaic panel has a unique image that looks different from afar as opposed to up close.

The initial assessment by the design team included a study to determine which facilities would be replaced and which would be renovated. This included consideration of the existing capacity versus the projected number and type of users, as well as the size and condition of the existing buildings.

Phasing and careful coordination with operations were critical considerations, as maintaining operations throughout construction benefited the traveler, the concession-holder, and the owner.


Travelers are provided with convenient access to bathrooms and dining, while transient travelers pass through the retail component upon entry. The central indoor/outdoor lobby provides a naturally lit visual focus aiding circulation. Secondary entrances were created to accommodate the large number of pedestrians arriving via bus. in addition, outdoor dining areas are located on each side of the building to increase the sense of permeability and indoor/outdoor dining. The consultant team included: Jacobs Global Building Designs, Interior Architect; Zyscovich, Architect of Record; DDA Engineers PA, Structural Engineering; Gannett Fleming, Civil Engineering; WRS Compass, Water and Sewer Consultant; Stride-OHL Contractors Inc., General Contractor.


You can learn more about Jacobs on their website at this link: http://www.jacobs.com/

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