Santiago Calatrava completes
Florida Polytechnic University

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Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

News: Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava has completed a building with a cage-like exterior for the newly established Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland.

Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

Santiago Calatrava – whose best-known projects include the Liège-Guillemins Station in Belgium – designed a 68-hectare campus for the new university, which will welcome its first batch of students later this month.



Specialising in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, the campus centres around the Innovation, Science and Technology Building, located on the north side of a lake.

Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

This 18,500-square-metre structure is wrapped by a lightweight aluminium "trellis" made up of a series of curving columns and surfaces, designed to reduce the building's solar gain by around 30 per cent.

Inside the facility, Calatrava has added a large first-floor meeting area known as "the Commons", which sits directly beneath a vaulted skylight.

Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

A louvred canopy overhead, made up of 46 panels, can be operated by hydraulics to adapt to the position of the sun, helping to shade the space from harsh direct light.

Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

Classrooms, laboratories, offices and meeting spaces can all be found on the ground floor of the building, alongside an amphitheatre for hosting events. Additional offices are located upstairs, arranged around the Commons.

Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

A series of pedestrian walkways connects the building with the rest of the campus, while a road surrounding the lake is screened by trees.

Florida Polytechnic University by Santiago Calatrava

The Florida Polytechnic University will be formally opened this weekend with a ceremony at the campus.


Project credits

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

  • Eynak East

    I’m getting edgy like this edge-tastic complex, I’m not vexed, not even perplexed… I’m just stunned at this architectural non blund-er. I hope you concur, it’s got a spur, a touch, a class act, I tell you it’s fact. From hydraulics euphoria blocking out the sun from sunny Florida, the Calatrava formula is an unstoppable form finda’, he’s played an unbelievable blinda’… well kinda, probably re-financ’ after they’ve fallen out of the Santiago tranc’.

  • http://be.net/bassel Bassel

    What kind of starchitect charm was used to convince a university board of trustees to put students in a giant cage? What a duchy omnipresent designer signature, like the oversized logos on expensive brands t-shirts!

  • Jeff

    Great stylist, interesting designer / architect. Beats the London Neo-brutalism we seem to see popping up everywhere.

  • Olof

    Bits to start coming off the roof in 3,2,1…

  • Anthony Thompson

    Lakeland, FL had the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Florida Southern College. Now it has the first piece of a new Calatrava-designed campus. That community will become an architectural mecca!

  • SirJonathanCharles

    Having grown up and gone to school in Florida, I can honestly say that about 99.4 per cent of that outdoor space will not be used. It will look much like it does in the pictures, actually.

  • Rob Barros

    Calatrava will be remembered for the Milwaukee Art Museum and a bridge. Florida Polytechnic won’t make the A-list.

  • Sandra Canning

    This building feels like a cathedral inside. I had never been inside one of his creations before and now I understand why he is a true “Starchitect “. He has been an inspiration to myself and many other photographers, so it’s nice to finally have a great piece of modern architecture in Florida. http://on.fb.me/1wgrjoz