Florida’s only state university focused in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, was created to be both a rigorous academic institution and a powerful resource for high-tech industries. Florida Polytechnic University was designed by famed Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. Architectural Digest describes Calatrava’s style as distinctly neo-Futurist for its innovative use of materials and sleek, forward-thinking aesthetic. A few of his most recognized architectural achievements include the World Trade Center Transportation Hub in New York City, Gare do Oriente in Portugal, Reggio Emilia AV Mediopadana in Italy, the Quadracci Pavilion at the Milwaukee Art Museum in Wisconsin and the Museu do Amanhã in Brazil.
This campus is a working piece of avant-garde architecture, highlighted by the centerpiece, an oblong steel structure comprised of complex arches that contrasts sharply against the surrounding water.
The Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) building at Florida Polytechnic University is the focal point of the 170-acre campus. A moveable and functional work of art, the 162,000-square-foot, white domed IST Building features a distinctive louvered roof system that adjusts with the sun’s angle and is surrounded by a ring of curved metal pergolas that shade its outer terrace and walkways.
It houses classrooms, auditoriums, administrative offices, common areas and a number of cutting-edge laboratories, including a Supercomputer and Student Data Center, a Visualization and Technology Collaboration (VTC) Lab, and a Rapid Application Development (RAD) Makerspace Lab with 3-D printing capabilities.
The Innovation, Science and Technology building in Lakeland has earned more than 20 architectural and engineering awards that include:
- 2014 Engineering News Record Global Best Project by Engineering News Record
- Best Projects: 2014 Project of the Year – Southeast Region, Best Higher Education/Research by Engineering News Record
- 2014 Metal Construction News Design Award in Metal Building Systems
- 2014 Best Innovative Structural Steel Project of the Year by the American Institute of Steel Construction
- 2015 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel (IDEAS2) Award
- 2015 International Architecture Award by The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and The European Centre for Architecture
While Florida Poly does not have a dedicated tour for architecture enthusiasts, the general public is welcome to participate in general campus tours and presentations. The tours include the campus residence hall, the reflecting ponds that surround the Innovation, Science and Technology Building and the iconic IST Building itself.