Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory Connector Fort Wayne, IN
Planning for the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory Connector began over 20 years ago. As downtown Fort Wayne developed a system of pedestrian bridges and covered walkways to provide easy access to public spaces, accommodations were made for this connector to eventually link up with this developing pedestrian network. After many years of discussion and multiple design iterations, the timing and funding was finally right. The 2019 completion of this project now connects the Botanical Conservatory to not only the Grand Wayne Center and the Embassy Theatre/Indiana Hotel Lobby, but also two hotels, their associated restaurants, and a parking garage; all without needing to go outside and be exposed to the elements.
The main challenge of the design was trying to efficiently connect the finish floor levels of the Embassy/Grand Wayne Center Connector and the Botanical Conservatory without awkward steps or transitions. With a set distance between the buildings and an elevational change of approximately 3 feet, the entire space needed to become a ramp in order to maintain accessibility. Although this complicated the design, it actually helps to add movement as you navigate between the buildings and encourages the visitor to explore other features of downtown Fort Wayne.
At first glance, the finished connector might appear to be a glorified corridor. However, it provides added value functioning as a gateway and procession for entry into the conservatory. This public passageway is spacious allowing exhibits and artwork to extend into it and greeting visitors as they approach the main lobby. The Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory Connector is a welcomed and long-awaited amenity!