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Starkey Ranch Theater, Library, Cultural Center

The new Theater, Library, Cultural Center is part of the fabric of the new Starkey Ranch community in Odessa, Florida. Bound by Lake Blanche Drive and Long Spur Drive, the site shares a common entry with the adjacent K-8 school. The new Starkey Ranch community is experiencing a significant growth with an influx of new residents in search of a relaxing environment focused on nature, family, and creating memories. The site is visually connected to the Natural Preserves on the South and North sides and surrounded by the new Starkey Ranch residential community, a welcome center, a residents hall, trails and parks.

The Theater, Library, Cultural Center intends to redefine the role of the library by acting as a 'culture generator' to the community and the adjacent school. The main reading spaces, Adult Reading room and Youth Reading rooms, act as the corners of knowledge, providing rigidity and clarity to the fluid interior lobby by focusing on the surrounding Preserves. Inside the Youth Reading room and Adult Reading room, the exterior walls peel off to open to the Natural Preserves. The connection to the Preserves transcends all the way to the lobby through transparency. As an ode to the ethos of the Cultural center, a green wall greets visitors with a recycling center for the community.

All the internal circulation has been merged to create a community 'living room' to invite the community and students to hang out, read books, study, research, recycle, and learn. The fluidity of the curved walls in the 'living room' is in contrast to the rigid exterior walls creating an element of unexpected. The layered ceilings connect all the spaces together with its curves. A series of skylights pierce through the layered ceilings, fostering curiosity and connecting the lobby to the sky. Pockets of wood elements invite residents and students to congregate and connect. The Theater acts as a gathering space for the community with a stage for performances and a flexible space for a multitude of events. Display areas and exhibit spaces in the 'living room' engage the community and spark creativity in the maker spaces.

The concept of the community 'living room' is expressed in the design of the roof. A common roof connects all the spaces together from the entry to the courtyard. Its design is based on the geographical context and study of the sun pattern.

The courtyard between the Theater Library Cultural Center and the adjacent school is activated with a stage, overhang and backdrop for outdoor lectures, performances, movie screening, outdoor classroom and splash story time. The Youth Reading room is also oriented to connect to the adjacent school through the common courtyard.