Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University

Architect
Santiago Calatrava

Alfonso Architects
Location
United States | View Map
Project Year
2014
Category
Universities
Stories By
Santiago Calatrava

BEGA
© Santiago Calatrava, LLC

Florida Polytechnic University

Santiago Calatrava as Architects

The new Florida Polytechnic University - whose 170 acre campus and iconic central building were designed by architect Santiago Calatrava - will formally mark its opening on August 16 with a ceremony at the campus in Lakeland, Florida. The university is Florida’s 12th and newest member of the State University System and will welcome its first students later this month.


The main building – the Innovation, Science, and Technology Building - has been finished on schedule and under the $60 million budget. Located on the north side of the central lake it is designed around, the exterior of the 200,000 sq. ft. building is made up of aluminum, aluminum cladding, concrete and glass. The interior is made of concrete flooring and columns, plaster, steel and glass. It will function as the primary campus facility - housing classrooms, laboratories, offices, meeting spaces and even an amphitheater for larger events. On the second floor, offices and meeting rooms are arranged around the “Commons” – a large meeting space under the vaulted skylight.


The building has a pergola of lightweight aluminum trellis wrapping its exterior. The pergola not only adds character, but reduces the solar load on the building by 30%. It also has an operable roof, made of two sets of 46 aluminum louvers, which use the power of hydraulic pistons to move in relationship to the sun, and which can be fitted with solar panels. The operable roof helps to shade the skylight of the Commons from direct sunlight and to maximize daylight to the space.


Visible from the adjacent Interstate 4, the futuristic building has become a well-known feature in the local area and has already appeared in an ad campaign for a major automobile manufacturer, who used it as a backdrop for its commercial.


When designing the campus’ master plan, Calatrava made the most of the unique topography of the central Florida area. The campus lake offers dramatic views and serves as the primary storm water retention facility and as a storage vessel for site irrigation. The campus is connected by a series of pedestrian causeways and walkways, as well as a road circling the lake buffered by trees and greenery.


Santiago Calatrava said, “I am honored to have been involved in this project dedicated to the study of science, technology, engineering and math – a set of subjects so crucial to our society and our economy. I am proud of what we have all achieved and I hope the young people that study here will be inspired to be creative and to meet their potential.” Calatrava added, “Working with the visionary university leadership and amongst the enthusiastic Lakeland community has been a privilege and I wish everyone associated with this project the best of luck in coming years.”


Randy K. Avent, President of Florida Polytechnic University, said, “We’re extremely excited to be launching our new university this month. Santiago Calatrava has produced an inspiring learning facility, and we can’t wait to welcome our inaugural class for this first academic year. This is an institution and campus that all of us in Lakeland and across the state of Florida can be proud of.”


Innovation, Science and Technology Building (IST)

BEGA as Lighting

The “Innovation, Science and Technology Building (IST)” at Florida Polytechnic University is situated in Lakeland approximately 50 miles to the south-west of Orlando. The ovals two-storey building makes a very technical impression but harmonises with the lake surrounding it and with the attractive scenic setting.

The complex contains offices for the department, teaching rooms and the first fully digital university library with terminal access to 135,000 e-books. Building costs for the futuristic complex amounted to around 60 million US dollars.

Two walk-arounds enclose the oval shape of the building, one on the ground-floor and one on the first floor. BEGA LED floodlights blend perfectly with the filigree wall and ceiling structure enclosing the walkways. In the day time, the ceiling casts interesting shadows. At night, the rooms are bathed in a uniformly pleasant light thanks to the efficient luminous flux and the beam angle of the floodlights.

Two large stairs, one at each end of the oval, lead to the upper floor into the heart of the building: the multi-purpose library and the student learning spaces with their high ceilings and an impressive roof window structure.

The skylights have a complex sunshade system of motorised aluminium blinds that can be raised and lowered like giant wings. This protects the rooms from strong direct sunlight and overheating. The wings of the roof structure are formed by 94 individually adjustable slats. When all the blinds are closed, enough daylight still gets into the space and the floor is covered with a series of geometrical shadows.

The structure of the building consists mainly of aluminium, concrete and glass. At night, BEGA floodlights illuminate the insides of the nested aluminium ribs of the pergola.

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