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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

  • COMPLETION DATE
    2014

Overview

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.

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