Florida Polytechnic University

Florida Polytechnic University, Florida’s newest university and only one dedicated to a curriculum of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, started its new campus building program with the 162,000-sq.-ft Innovation Science and Technology Building designed by world renowned architect Santiago Calatrava.

This two-story reinforced concrete structure’s signature element is the 250-ft-long glass atrium shaded by 94 operable louver arms all of which are supported by structural steel boxed plate assemblies spanning up to 72 ft. The box plate assemblies are designed to carry not only the load of the glass atrium but also the extreme loads of the shading system’s operable louver arms, which are as long as 62 ft. The louver arms move during the day to act as sun shades.

The arms are attached to a structural steel plate stanchion that is field welded to the structural steel plate box assembly. The load is transferred by the box plate assemblies and network of internal plate stiffeners to the foot assembly and then to a reinforced concrete ring beam.

The structural steel box assemblies were shop fabricated then most were shipped in two pieces due to length and joined in the center at the job site.

The lower portion of the plate assemblies are architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) and exposed to view from the grand hall below. The AESS element has such a smooth finish that most observers mistake this structural steel for another building material.