Florida Polytechnic University, Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building in Lakeland, Fla. Courtesy Florida Polytechnic University (left) and Alfonso Architects (right).

Florida Polytechnic University, Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural design services for a 160,000-square-foot academic building located on Florida Polytechnic University’s new 170-acre campus. It provides spaces for interdisciplinary classrooms, laboratories, offices, meeting rooms and a large amphitheater.

The two-story teaching facility features a prominent glass and steel cupola with an operable louver system, and a continuous pergola defined by 84 arched aluminum “leaves” that shade the upper level terraces and ground-level arcades around the perimeter of the building. The structure’s concrete foundation is reinforced with stone columns and a series of cast-in-place, exposed concrete portal frames. A cast-in-place concrete ring beam supports the vaulted steel cupola and its louver system.

The initial concept for the louvers called for two 250-foot-long movable arches to raise and lower the louvers. Working with the project team, the structural engineers developed an alternative in which individual hydraulic pistons operate each of the 94 louvers. This allowed for a lighter, less-expensive support structure and minimized the need for custom parts.

As one of the first buildings constructed on the site, the IST building helps establish the design scheme for all future structures within phase one of the campus master plan. Its distinctive profile and design is intended to attract and inspire visitors, and to help achieve the university’s vision for developing a new science and technology corridor in central Florida.

Read More

Related Projects

Specialized Structural Engineering Expertise

Computational Analysis

While the range of shapes and forms that can be designed with modern modeling tools is almost limitless, geometric discipline is still essential for budget control. When forms are still in flux, the design team can use our proprietary tools to interactively study multiple geometric options and establish optimized shapes for structural frames and building surfaces, along with related systems.

Parametric modeling applies parameters such as materials, dimensions or performance criteria to define elements or element categories within a model. Once entered, they can be altered, individually or in combination, to explore and easily incorporate design changes. These 3D models contain intelligent information and can serve as deliverables, or they can be used to generate 2D drawings. Parametric models improve documentation speed and quality, enhance visualization, quickly perform geometry-based analytical tasks and easily calculate material quantities.

Generative modeling uses scripts – instead of direct input – to generate elements, providing even greater flexibility in iterating and testing many options. It allows architects, engineers and other project stakeholders to work together to quickly evaluate any number of concepts and variations.