NAPLES, Fla.– One of Kraft Construction’s recently completed projects, Naples Botanical Garden, has been selected as a National Building of America Award project from hundreds of nominees.
The Naples Botanical Garden will be a featured Gold Medal Winner on the Building of America website (www.BuildingofAmerica.com), which brings industry leaders and decision makers together with consultants, financial resources, architectural firms, program and project managers and others from within the construction and design industry. The Building of America Network showcases the most innovative, unique and challenging new projects that are particularly noteworthy or give back to their respective communities.
Naples-based Kraft Construction was the general contractor for Naples Botanical Garden, the second largest developed botanical garden in the state, with 60 of the 160 total acres developed. Kraft completed Phase I last October and the first three gardens – the Children’s Garden, the Brazilian Garden and the Caribbean Garden – were opened to the public in November 2009.
According to Kraft’s Project Manager Steven DeLong, one of the unique features of the Naples Botanical Garden is that the company used the site’s actual land to construct the project; Kraft excavated and constructed two new lakes and utilized the fill from those lakes in the specialty gardens. Trees that were cleared were converted to mulch and utilized throughout the project. The irrigation system is fed from an existing lake on the property to provide water for the specialty gardens and common area landscaping. The lake is replenished by a recharge well and site and storm drainage.
Kraft worked with well-known architects, using conceptual drawings to create the garden’s design while keeping the project’s schedule and budget intact. “We were able to bring the architects’ vision from Brazil and the Caribbean to the site,” said DeLong. “For instance, the architect’s vision for the concrete in the Brazilian Garden was that it appeared to be ‘taken over and eaten by the jungle.’ We sandblasted the concrete walls and walks to give it that old world feeling.”
Within the Botanical Garden, Kraft also constructed the Children’s Garden specifically for kids only. The garden provides children the ability to see how the environment operates around us. The garden is interactive, allowing children to splash and play in water, observe and learn about butterflies, climb a rope bridge to a treehouse and climb up in a fire tower to view a sea of saw grass.
DeLong says Kraft has begun construction of the second phase, which is expected to be completed in November 2010 and will include a water lily pond, Asian Garden and Florida Garden.
Brian Holley, executive director of Naples Botanical Garden, said the Asian Garden will be divided into various botanical zones: commercial crops, ornamentals, bamboos, water plants and outdoor “rooms” of cultural diversity. A Northern Thailand riverside scene, an ancient Japanese terraced sanctuary, a Balinese temple water garden, an East Indonesia megalithic court and a new Asian sculpture garden will all be featured.
The Florida Garden will display the essence of the state’s landscape. The central feature of the garden will be the “great circle,” a circular area reminiscent of the numerous pot lakes one sees when flying over Southwest Florida. A circular planting of sabal palms underplanted with bougainvillea and silver palmetto will form the great circle. Smaller, residential-scale gardens will demonstrate how homeowners can integrate natives into their own properties.
“This project is such a great addition to Collier County culture, and Kraft is proud to be a part of it,” said DeLong. “Not only do the gardens provide the community with an education into plants from around the world, but they also show ways to conserve and give back to the environment by utilizing existing conditions. Plus, the gardens will provide wildlife a place to live for many years to come.”
DeLong credits the projects subcontractors, without whom the project could not have been constructed. “We decided to make this project a community effort by utilizing multiple trades in the same scope of work,” he explained. The company used three major landscape subcontractors, utilized three different aluminum specialty contractors, two concrete paver companies, two fountain subcontractors and two carpentry subcontractors, all of whom worked well together as a team.
Other consultants involved in the Naples Botanical Garden project include landscape architects Goetz + Stropes Landscape Architects, Inc., Herb Schaal, FASLA; EDAW, Raymond Jungles, Inc., Robert E.Truskowski, Inc. and P. T. Wijaya Tribwana International, as well as architectural firm Lake|Flato Architects Inc. and RhodesDhal, owner’s representative and management services.
Kraft Construction Company Inc., founded in 1968, is a statewide general contractor and construction management firm specializing in commercial, government, educational, medical, hospitality and mixed-use construction. Kraft is part of the Manhattan Construction Group of companies. For more information, visit www.KraftConstruction.com.