Santiago Calatrava's ethereal Florida Polytechnic University opens on 16 August
The Santiago Calatrava-designed 170-acre campus and central building for Florida Polytechnic University will open with an official ceremony on Saturday 16 August. Free and open to the public, the event will begin at 9.30am at the campus in Lakeland, formally introducing the local community and future students to this impressive new education space.
“We’re extremely excited to be launching our new university this month,” said Randy K. Avent, President of Florida Polytechnic University. “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.”
Florida Polytechnic University will now become the 12th member of the State University System, and will focus on the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. The main building - completed on time and under the $60m budget - incorporates 200,000 sq ft of education space, including classrooms, laboratories, offices, meeting rooms, and an amphitheatre. There is also a mammoth meeting area on the second floor which enjoys subtle daylighting through a vaulted skylight.
The exterior of the main form has been constructed using aluminium, concrete, glass, and aluminium cladding in a classically ‘Calatrava’ style. Thin fronds of metal encase the building to create an accessible terrace, casting intricate patterns across the ground. Internally, concrete, plaster, steel, and glass have been used to create a raw, industrial aesthetic, warmed in the second floor meeting room with wooden floors and natural lighting.
Calatrava notes: “I am honoured 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.”
When WAN first published renderings of this project back in April 2012, the images showed a dramatic operable roof. This function uses hydraulic pistons to activate two sets of 46 aluminium louvres, shifting them in relation to the position of the sun to provide a comfortable level of sunlight within the second floor meeting room. In future, it will be possible to add solar panels to this roof system.
Architect: Santiago Calatrava
Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti
MEP Engineer: TLC
Civil Engineer: Anderson Lane, Inc
Architect of Record: Alfonso Architects
Lab Consultant: RS&H
CM/GC: Skanska USA