Architect: Santiago Calatrava
You may have seen this building under construction in the background of Dodge Ram Pick-up television commercials while it was under construction in 2014. But you may not have recognized it as a local landmark, if you don't drive I-4 through Lakeland regularly.
The Innovation Science and Technology building, is the work of architect Santiago Calatrava, a Spanish architect trained as a structural engineer, his buildings eschew his structural abilities which exceed that of most architects. There are 94 louvers on hydraulic motors that open and close over the large roof skylight, like wings, to provide just the right amount of sunlight inside the 4th floor library. The lower floors open out onto continuous terraces wrapping around the building. These terraces are covered by folded steel trellises, or pergolas, that give a spectacular airy herringbone pattern to the exterior.
In plan, the building is straightforward and elegant. Two double-loaded corridors lined in polished concrete, one at ground level and another on the second floor, curve in a gentle oval arc around the building. The interior corridors received a ribbed treatment similar to the exterior walkways. The lower one opens onto classrooms on its outer edge and to studio space, labs, and an auditorium in the center of the building. Upstairs, the corridor has faculty and administrative offices on the outside and, to the inside, some small conference and study rooms as well as the building’s functional and architectural heart: an 11,000 sf multipurpose library and study space with a soaring ceiling that is known as “the Commons.” Its reference collection is completely digital, there are no books, a first for the state's university system. Two grand staircases, one on each end of the oval, lead to this upper floor.
Outside, a moat surrounds the main building and leads to a larger body of water. The 162,000-square-foot classroom building, cost $60 million to construct and is on Florida’s newest campus.