Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has started construction on the $42.5m phase one of the masterplan at the Downtown Sarasota campus on Sarasota Bay in Florida, US.

The 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus forms part of Selby Gardens, which also comprises the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County.

The three-phase masterplan was developed by a team comprising landscape architecture studio Olin, design architecture firm Overland Partners, civil engineer Kimley-Horn, engineering firm Arup and solar energy firm One80Solar.

Willis Smith Construction will be responsible for managing construction activities at the project.

Overland Partners Design Performance director John Byrd said: “Phase I and the entire Master Plan of Selby Botanical Gardens is innovating a greener future, one where architecture blends into the landscape, creates its own energy and respects and is informed by its ecological context in order to inspire others and serve as a model of truly sustainable, resilient design.”

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This phase involves the construction of a new 27,700ft² building named Living Energy Access Facility (LEAF). It will comprise house parking, a gift shop and a garden-level restaurant.

Capped with a one-acre solar array, the LEAF will also feature a stormwater filtration system to help protect the Sarasota Bay ecosystem.

Additionally, the first phase will include a new Welcome Center to accommodate and orient guests, as well as a new Plant Research Center.

The research centre will feature a herbarium and laboratory, as well as a research library to preserve rare books dating from the 1700s.

Selby Gardens president and CEO Jennifer Rominiecki said: “We are taking an established civic and cultural asset and allowing room for our collections, research and educational programmes to be protected and sustainable for generations to come.

“The first phase and entire masterplan pay homage to the forward-thinking women who established the gardens and who understood the importance of preserving and connecting with nature, protecting natural resources and sustaining the future.”

The entire complex will be located above the storm surge elevation to protect the priceless collections and new facilities from hurricanes and rising sea levels.