“A GOOD FIT WITH THE CITY”
Designed by Tampa architectural firm Helmuth, Obata and Kassabaum in the Mediterranean Revival style, the exterior reflects the same classic appearance as the Fort Harrison itself, owned by the Church of Scientology since the mid-1970s, and fully restored by the Church to its original beauty. The interior of the new Flag building will echo the Mediterranean theme with the use of tile, wood, wicker and stone, comfortable lounges and coffee bars. Two large skylights will bring natural light to the inner rooms of the building, and verandas and balconies will enable guests to enjoy the Florida weather.
The new building will be “a good fit with the City of Clearwater. It’s handsomely detailed, both exterior and interior. It has a level of detail not normally seen in these kinds of buildings,” said Alan Temple, architect in charge of the project. Helmuth, Obata and Kassabaum have also designed such well-known projects as the new Tampa Federal Court and the Raymond James Stadium.
The Flag building has materialized from the architectural designs as the result of a combined effort of many Gulf professionals and firms.
After a groundbreaking ceremony for the structure at the end of 1998, 10 months of preliminary construction, involving excavation of the basement, dewatering of the earth and the installation of tons of steel to reinforce the building’s foundation, were followed by a massive concrete pit. Five hundred and fifty-six men contracted under South Downs Concrete donned hard hats beginning at 4:00 a.m. on a hot day in August 1999, for a non-stop, 16-hour long pour of 18,000 tons of concrete into 900 tons of steel.
The result was a cement foundation of the subsequent construction and interiors which involve, among many other details, one million pounds of limestone floor tile, 180 miles of electrical wiring and five miles of carpet.