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Esperia South & Commons
Bonita Bay Community, Bonita Springs Fla.

Landscape Architecture by Bruce Howard & Associates, Inc., Miami


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Esperia South and Commons is a 119-unit, high-end, 28-story condominium development in the Eagle Watch section of the Bonita Bay Community in Bonita Springs, Fla. Set on 2,400 acres, the pool and deck are oriented to take advantage of the easterly views of the 1,400 acres of preserves and westerly views of the golf course, Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The landscape architect's design is curving bands of pavers with 'malt 2', 'malt 2/buff' and 'tan/sienna' color combinations. These 9-wide paver bands were repeated as often as necessary. This same color scheme continues on the upper level living decks, so when viewed from the nearby 28-story tower units becomes an intertwined, serpentine graphic painting. The prominent hardscapes are balanced by the tasteful placement of predominately date palms and linear planters on the pool deck. The green roofs are a pleasing geometry of Zoysia 'Empire' turf and swaths of hardy and wind resistant dwarf Rhaphiolepis, dwarf 'Ice pink' Oleander and 'Green Island' ficus encircling the hardscapes. The medium-bladed, dark green zoysiagrass has excellent wear tolerance, requires little mowing and chemical applications, and is chinch bug resistant.


Esperia South and Commons is a 119-unit, high-end, 28-story condominium developed for the Lutgert Companies in the Eagle Watch section of the 2,400-acre naturalistic, award-winning Bonita Bay Community in Bonita Springs Fla. Bonita Springs (43,914) is in Lee County, Florida's southwest coast and part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metro area.

The initial phase work included the South Tower (North Tower soon to follow), Commons Building and all their outdoor amenities. Combining the needs of the two towers into one centrally located pool and deck area allowed for an upgraded amenity package. The pool and deck are oriented to take advantage of the easterly views of the 1,400 acres of preserves, and westerly views of the golf course, Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. As the project landscape architects, Bruce Howard & Associates, Inc., of Miami was responsible for site planning; all driveway, sidewalk, pool deck and upper level deck paving designs; design and detailing of main entry signage; construction details and specifications for the planters, pool, pool deck railings, bridge and pool/fountain designs, copings, tile and specifications; all ongrade and ondeck planting design; site grading; and site lighting design.

 

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The Esperia neighborhood is tucked within the northwest corner of the Bonita Bay development, adjacent to Esperia Bay Park and Golf Course, and the Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve in the Gulf of Mexico. The initial phase work included the South Tower and Commons Building that would house all the amenities for the South Tower and soon to follow North Tower. The view of the pool deck, golf course and Estero Bay (Gulf of Mexico) is looking West-Northwest from the south condominium tower.



"We were fortunate to have an outstanding design team that had several years of experience working together," explained Bruce Howard, president of Bruce Howard & Associates. "The success of the design solution was the complete integration of the architecture and landscape architecture, coupled with the intelligent, hands-on approach of the client. The project architect, Alcides Santiesteban, employed many soft curves in his architecture to blend into the natural environs of Bonita Bay, which we complemented in the landscape architectural design of the hardscape and landscaping."

 

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The driveway to the Commons Building uses an octagon/square infill pattern, with the octagons in 'malt 2/buff' and the squares in 'tan/sienna' hues. The entry signage is inscribed brown marble set in a Jerusalem (limestone) base, flanked by Carissa 'Atlas' shrubs (closeup shot). The signage, designed by Smith, Barnes, Santieteban Architects, is used in all seven of the high-rise buildings built by the Lutgert Companies. A similar sign design (background) identifies the Commons Building. The LED bollards are concrete.



The Entry
Beginning with the entry, the distinctive welcoming signage features brown marble set in limestone in a natural, understated manner. All ground level pedestrian and vehicular paving was done with multicolor blends: 'malt 2', 'buff', 'tan', and 'sienna', progressive, compatible colors that match perfectly with the building colors. The sidewalk features a 'malt 2' border with a slightly darker 'malt 2/buff' infill. In contrast, the 'tan/sienna' blend for the street border is slightly darker. The drive to the Commons Building uses an octagon/square infill pattern, with the octagons in 'malt 2/buff', and the squares in 'tan/sienna' hues. To be similar, yet different, the drive into the building's parking garage and on-grade parking used a uni-décor shaped paver infill that was 60% 'malt 2/buff' with 40% 'tan/sienna'. The entry drop-off into the South Tower went back to the octagon/square pattern. All curbs and gutters were concrete in a 'tan/sienna' to blend with the pavers. To fit the design seamlessly into the site, the landscape architect allowed the perimeter of the site to remain at the existing +6' elevation. Starting at this height on Bonita Bay Boulverd the grade climbs at a comfortable incline to a finished floor elevation of approximately +13'. This 7' climb in grade allowed for a simplistic gravity drainage design, with all water directed to the onsite retention pond at an elevation of 4' through native grass and wetland plantings.

"Exiting the Commons Building we used this same +7' grade differential to create a more interesting multilevel pool deck amenity leading back down to the existing +6' elevation of the natural vegetation bordering the golf course," explained Bruce Howard. "A covered upper level terrace at +12.5' leads to a bridge over the water feature and down to the pool deck at a 9' height. We used this grade change to implement our infinity edge fountain feature with a progressively colored tile front wall. Five colors were used to emulate the shades of water from the light colored shallow areas of the surrounding waterways to the darker depths."

 

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The hardscape for the pool deck, as for the driveway and parking spaces, incorporates a 'uni-decor' design pattern of octagonal and square pavers in buff, tan malt and sienna color combinations. Flowing curves are evident in every aspect of the hard surface design, beginning with the round, shade structure columns that sit on curved precast concrete platforms on the upper level of the fountain. The water wall for the curving infinity pools is colorfully tiled with five tile colors (Daltile), beginning with 'Oyster' white, transitioning to light blue 'Alapulco', then progressing to darker hues of blue: 'Cancun', 'Ocean' and 'Kahiea. The grout is a 'Blueberry' hue. The fountain, pool and spa copings incorporate the same 5-color tile blend, but as single rows versus the multiple rows on the waterfall walls. Note: The landscape architect had the aluminum railing painted in white and blue shades to match the pool tiles. The rail arches mimic waves, and had to be spaced no more than 4" apart to comply with safety requirements for drops over 3 feet. The client opted to have the railing repainted all white for a more understated look.



The 4,800 sq. ft. pool features offers two conventional stairways at the ends of the pool to enter the water, plus an an accessible "beach entry" at the pool's midpoint. One stairway leads to the lap swimming area, while the other leads to the lounging pool area. All fountain, pool and spa copings have the same 5-color tile blend in single rows, versus multiple rows on the waterfall walls.

"Along the western edge of the pool deck we again stepped the grade down 2ft. to a +7' level, using the architect's same shade pavilion as employed at the upper level deck to protect the lower level heated spa from the warm westerly sun," explains the landscape architect. The swimming pool empties into a lower level trough that incorporates a vanishing edge detail with the leading wall covered with the same 5-color tile blend as on the water feature wall. Sitting in the spa one gets a multidimensional perspective of the pool's waterfall edge and the upper deck fountains, bridge and covered walkway, all centered in the overall design.

 

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The multicolor pavers integrate subtle differences between the lighter colored sidewalk and darker roadway. The sidewalk border is a 'malt' hue, while the sidewalk infill is a 'malt 2/buff'. The ongrade parking also employs a uni-decor design of pavers (octagonal pavers with smaller square pavers in between) with 'tan/ sienna' borders and an infill that is 60% 'malt 2/buff' and 40% 'tan/sienna', with complementary colored curbing.



Employing the same color pavers as those used in front, the landscape architect created curving bands of 9 pavers wide, progressively colored with the 'malt 2', than the 'malt 2/buff', followed by the 'tan/sienna' combination. These colored bands were repeated as often as necessary. This same color scheme continues on the upper level living decks, so when viewed from the 28-story tower units, becomes an intertwined, serpentine graphic painting.

The flowing curves are evident in every aspect of the hard surface design, beginning with the shade structure columns that sit on curved precast concrete platforms on the upper level of the fountain. The aluminum railing for the bridge crossing also features a curvilinear design, while still complying with the 4" on center picket design required for level changes. The water feature, curbed water trough, planters, beach entry railing, pool and spa designs also follow the same curvilinear pattern described by the pavers.

 

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This view to the northwest of the South Tower Condominiums further illustrates the repeating 3-color paving pattern. 
The curving poolside pavilion offers shade by stretching blue awning fabric inside and across some of the rectangular concrete architectural frames.



Continuing the tropical motif established in the pool deck area, the landscape reveals many different varieties of palm trees, beginning with the stately 'Royal' palms leading up the main drive, to the elegant date palms in the pool deck area. Smaller palms included the 'European Fan' palm, 'Lady' palm (Rhapis), 'Parlor' palm (Chamaedorea), 'Licuala' and 'Pygmy' date palm. Native Sabal palms help blend into Bonita Bay's naturalistic environment. A colorful landscape is always in demand. The landscape architect used numerous varieties of flowering plants: blue Plumbago; yellow Allamanda; pink Ixora, hibiscus and Pentas; red/orange Hamelia; red Jatropha, 'Crown-of-Thorns' (Euphorbia milii); purple Ruellia; and white jasmine, iris and Carissa. Natives included: Jamaica caper, white iris, Simpson's stopper ('Twinberry'), Hamelia and Walter's viburnum. Elevated planters on the upper level decks accentuated the curvilinear designs, as do the planting beds.

 

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This centerline view is from the spa to the overflow edge of the 4,800 sq. ft. main pool, to the central stairway ramp, to the tiled fountain wall and the shade canopy. The stairway leads directly to the "beach" entrance, a gradually sloping grade for easier accessibility and lounging. Conventional staired entrances are on either side of the pool for lap swimmers.



Project Team
Developer: The Lutgert Companies, North Naples, Fla.
Project Manager: Mike Hoyt
Architect: Santiesteban and Associates Architects, Tampa
Landscape Architect: Bruce Howard & Associates, Inc., Miami
Landscape Contractor: O'Donnell's Landscapes, Inc., Estero, Fla.
General Contractor: Boran Craig Barber Enfel Construction Co., Naples, Fla.
Civil Engineer: Agnoli Barber and Brundage, Inc., Naples
Structural Engineer: db& W Structural Designs, Inc., Sarasota, Fla.
Paver Manufacturer: Krehling Industries, Inc., Naples.
Paver Installer: Timo Brothers, Inc., Bonita Springs, Fla.







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July 23, 2019, 10:26 pm PDT

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