$106 million, Phase I project for the new Florida Polytechnic University consists of multiple buildings situated on a 171-acre site and extensive underground enabling work. The signature architectural piece for the university is the iconic Innovation Science and Technology Building (IST), designed by architect Santiago Calatrava. The IST building serves as a centerpiece for the entire campus. In addition to the IST building, the project included: a 20,000-SF Student Wellness Center, a 5,000-SF Admissions Building, and a 5,000-SF Campus Control Center (CCC).

Innovation Science & Technology Building (IST)

The $60 million, two-story IST building is 300,000-GSF including 160,000-SF of conditioned space. The facility contains research and teaching labs, classrooms, offices, study and support spaces, common areas, a production studio and a large amphitheater for exhibitions and lectures. The building’s curved roof, which sits on an oval base, is topped by a 250-ft long skylight shading system. The system is composed of 94 custom louvered arms that form an arc shape and rise and lower daily, in harmony with the sun’s path throughout the seasons of the year. The louvered arms also control solar heat gain and interior light, and were designed to contain photovoltaic tape in the future to generate power for operation. A continuous terrace surrounds the building and is shaded by 84 custom aluminum pergolas, which provide outdoor learning, gathering and seating areas. Glazing of the building is curved to match the oval footprint.

The engineering marvel that is the IST building will be a direct representation of the future engineers that will be studying beneath its pergolas. The structure may take center stage - as the steel and architectural concrete are left exposed - but all the mechanical systems are hidden. The supply diffusers are merely slots in the ceiling, hidden in soffits, and/or concealed behind wooden slats. And the majority of the lighting is indirect, functioning only when needed at night. The design allowed for the classrooms and commons to be flooded with natural daylight and provide a more enjoyable space to the staff, faculty and student alike. Mechanical supply to the laboratories is 100% conditioned outside air, and a dedicated exhaust system pulls contaminated air to the roof – all concealed through very carefully coordinated ductwork and fan placement.

The IST building is the tour de force of the campus, and is a visual masterpiece which reflects the seamless relationship between Master Architect and Master Builder.

Student Wellness Center

The 20,000-SF Student Wellness Center was a Design-Build collaboration between Skanska and a local firm, Straughn Trout Architects. The center includes: student services, a fitness center, cafeteria, coffee bar and Barnes & Noble bookstore.

Admissions Center

The 5,000-SF Admissions Center is a pre-engineered building and includes a reception area, administrative staff offices, guidance/counseling rooms and features rollup glass doors to transform the welcome area into an indoor/outdoor space.

Campus Control Center (CCC)

The 5,000-SF Campus Control Center (CCC) is the mechanical, technological and electrical hub for the campus. The CCC has the capacity to house four 600-ton chillers, and four cooling towers, but is currently operating two chillers and one cooling tower. The campus main data server room and central command room contains all equipment necessary to provide security, voice and network capability for the entire campus (Phase 1). All equipment is monitored via cloud-based systems.

Site Development

The project site was heavily wooded and located in a rural area just a few hundred yards from I-4. Prior to beginning construction on the building, the team spent over seven months leveling, clearing, and grubbing for the infrastructure needed on the 170-acre site. The scope also includes construction of eight large retention ponds covering 32 acres and with 17’ deep retaining walls, 27 miles of sidewalks, and a 2-mile ring road surrounding the campus. The retention ponds are lined, aerated (from blow-offs located at the CCC building), and are surrounded by environmentally sensitive littoral shelves built along the banks to clean the water naturally. The retention ponds are separated by pedestrian causeways to enhance access to beautifully landscaped outdoor spaces. Finally, 900 on-grade parking spaces and more than 225 custom LED site light poles (designed by Calatrava) have been installed across the campus.


Santiago Calatrava’s design incorporates complex geometry such as a roof curved like a whale’s back that sits on an oval base structure. The 43 cupola beams that comprise the roof are covered with a sloped glazing system, and one-of-a-kind operable louvers control natural light in the building’s interior. Structural elements such as steel, concrete and glass are built on a radius, on rotation, and are exposed, requiring precise craftsmanship. To correctly execute the design, the team collaborated with Calatrava to carefully evaluate each sophisticated design element for constructability, sequencing and connectivity with adjacent components. Beginning early in preconstruction extensive mock-ups and numerous working sessions with expert partners to develop a meticulous understanding of every design element. More than 132,000 pages of shop drawings were reviewed and 64 different bid packages were issued. Our approach allowed us to provide a GMP at only 50 percent Design Documents.


Florida Polytechnic University, which serves as the state’s 12th university, focuses exclusively on STEM education and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as online educational programs. The IST Building houses upper and lower division interdisciplinary teaching and research, and has been outfitted with specialized laboratory equipment, computer labs, circuits labs, a media lab, and a dedicated room to the HPC and VMware, also known as the Supercomputer.