2016 Multifamily 2nd Runner-Up

Palermo Vista, an ICF townhome development on the northern outskirts of Orlando, Florida, sets a new benchmark for sustainability, quality, and speed of construction.

The 53,000-square-foot, 16-unit project is designed to resemble Tuscan village, with tiled roofs, wrought-iron balconies, and faux-aged stucco. It’s also one of the “greenest” projects in the state, being certified by the U.S. Green Building Council as LEED-Platinum, the highest level of achievement possible.

ICFs were used for all exterior walls, the walls between units, and even the swimming pools.

According to Michael Towers of Oakwood Construction, Palermo Vista was designed originally to be built with concrete block, the standard construction material for most of Florida. But a Logix ICF exhibit at the South East Building Conference in Orlando caught the eye of the developers, and a conversation developed about the advantages insulated concrete forms could bring to the project. The foam-and-concrete building system withstands termites and hurricanes, could simplify and speed construction, and most of all, provide significant energy savings.

Soon, Logix’s technical support was helping Oakwood convert the design from CMU to ICF.

Andy Lennox, marketing director at Logix, says, “By using the 4”-core form we were able to keep the original footprint of the CMU design without impacting the overall square footage of the townhome units.”

Other details were more challenging. “One of the unique design features was the exterior cantilevered wall of the second floor balcony, which the builder wanted out of ICF,” Lennox explains. “With our in-house engineer’s suggestions on rebar and design details we were able to accomplish this vision.”

As the design progressed, additional benefits were discovered. ICFs could be used to create a soundproof and fireproof demising wall between units. They could also be used for the heated, insulated swimming pool. The final designs used nearly 11,000 sq. ft. of forms. “The entire exterior/interior, common walls and four swimming pools are constructed of ICF,” says Lennox. “It was a complete solution for all phases of the project.”

ICFs also simplified the build The developer had optimized the size
of the buildings to the size of the site. The tight spacing between the buildings left insufficient room to brace the walls in the conventional manner. “One of the reasons they swung from CMU to ICF was that there was insufficient room for outside scaffolding on this jobsite,” says Lennox.

Finished six months ahead of schedule, the speed of construction led to significantly greater profits than originally anticipated.

The Oakwood installation crews actually placed the second-story floors before the walls were poured and used them as the primary wall bracing system. “This is very, very innovative,” says Towers. In practice, the development went up even faster than scheduled, and opened months earlier than expected.

Designed to resemble Tuscan village, the 16 units are grouped two units per building, with the eight buildings facing each other across a central courtyard. Fountains and planter boxes provide the ambiance of an old Italian Countryside. The buildings themselves are finished with a realistic 3D aged stucco effect, for which the foam sidewalls of the ICFs were a perfect substrate. In some areas, a brick veneer was embedded into to the foam and stucco applied around the brick to simulate the charm of a centuries-old village.

Behind the walls, though, Palermo Vista takes advantage of the latest innovative and state-of-the art technology. It is a top-tier rated Energy Star project, and also earned the highest Florida Energy Management Rating. Perhaps most impressive, it is certified as LEED-Platinum, the highest rating given by USGBC.

The project closed out six months ahead of schedule, and units sold out quickly, adding significantly to the developer’s bottom line.

Not surprisingly, potential buyers were attracted to the green rating and concept of lower energy usage. Towers says simply, “The townhomes sold quickly because of estimated monthly energy savings.” He reports that the new owners also appreciated the sound- and fire-rated demising walls between the units, and the fact that their home does not have the risk of termites and wood rot in the hot and humid south-central Florida climate.

Lennox adds, “This development, with its incredible attention to detailing and architectural effect has advanced the ICF industry by showing what is possible with ICF construction.”

Project Statistics

Location: Longwood, Florida
Type: 16-Unit Duplex Townhomes
Size: 53,300 sq. ft. (floor)
ICF Use: 10,700 sq. ft.
ICF Installation time: 180 days

Construction Team

Developer: Oakwood Development
General Contractor +ICF Installer: Oakwood Construction
Form Distributor: Stark Construction Supply
Architect: Mike Smith Architect
ICF System: 4″ core Logix ICF


Fast Facts

  • Designed to resemble Tuscan village
  • Cantilevered ICF Walls
  • ICF pools and demising walls
  • Tight jobsite
  • Used floors as wall bracing system
  • LEED-Platinum rated


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