Benchmark General Contractors takes next steps for
sustainable residential development
Collaborative process inspires plans for Sanibel’s
eco-friendly community, Sea Glass
SANIBEL ISLAND, FL (July 29, 2009) – The vision of Benchmark partners Mark Anderson and Ron Rosen began to take shape as a team of 20 experts shared ideas about the builders’ 12-acre sustainable residential community, Sea Glass.
Designers, architects, green building consultants, engineers, Realtors and community representatives gathered at the Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa to participate in creative brainstorming, and to pore over preliminary design plans to offer their recommendations.
“This collaboration ensures that we have a brain trust comprised of the best of the best as we plan this community,” said Anderson. “Our unique, groundbreaking lifestyle concept will reduce our footprint on the environment, and we are developing an environmentally sensitive design that could become a model for future coastal communities in our region.”
Martin Gold, Associate Professor at the University of Florida’s School of Architecture and Executive Director of the Florida Community Design Center (FLCDC) facilitated the two-day charrette (French for cart). Fort Myers based Benchmark General Contractors, UF’s School of Architecture and the FLCDC have contracted to plan the sustainable residential cluster of approximately 12 single-family homes along Periwinkle Way on Sanibel Island. The property was previously the site of the Old Schoolhouse Theater and the home of the Sanibel Landscape Company, the first landscape nursery on the island.
At the charrette, Gold and his team submitted a series of schematic designs for a residential enclave that integrates coastal ecologies, social connectivity, permaculture and sustainability as core principles of the neighborhood planning and architectural design. Participants broke out into groups to analyze and comment on each design.
Some ideas that grew out of the meeting include allocated nature areas, cluster development, a civic green promenade, auto court, butterfly meadow, water harvesting, and an “eco-villa” dedicated to environmental education, just to name a few. Gold said the project will engage in the best practices for low impact development and sustainable community design. During future planning, experts will be consulted regarding stormwater strategies, storm resistant designs, building materials and energy efficient design where site resources – breezes, rainwater, solar radiation and natural vegetative systems – are optimized.
“This is only the beginning,” said Anderson. “Our goal is to protect and preserve the environment while creating a close-knit community that reminds homeowners of growing up in simpler times.
“We decided on the name Sea Glass because it suggests something very unique and beautiful, created by nature and resulting in surprise and delight upon discovery.”