Florida Poly’s IST Building Recognized Globally for Architectural Innovation

LAKELAND, Fla. – Florida Polytechnic University’s iconic Innovation, Science and Technology building in Lakeland has earned more than 20 architectural and engineering awards since its completion, often beating out a number of billion-dollar construction projects across the global architectural scene. While the IST Building was completed just a year and a half ago, it is already recognized as one of the world’s most innovative feats of architecture, engineering and construction.

Designed by internationally-renowned architect Dr. Santiago Calatrava, the IST Building is the cornerstone of Florida Poly’s campus and the University’s main classroom and laboratory building. Among the numerous awards associated with the IST Building since its construction is the distinguished Engineering News Record’s (ENR) Global Project of the Year award. ENR is a top trade publication of the construction industry, and Global Project of the Year is the highest honor it bestows.

“It’s a wonderful privilege for our faculty, students and staff to be able to learn and work in one of the world’s most cutting-edge structures,” said University President Dr. Randy K. Avent. “The building’s state-of-the-art design and technological capabilities create an inspirational environment and provide the perfect backdrop for innovative learning.”

The IST Building competed with several other construction projects in some of the world’s modern architecture hotbeds, such as Prince Mohammed Bin Abdulaziz Airport, located in Madinah, Saudi Arabia and Regent Emirates Pearl Hotel, located in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, for ENR’s 2014 Global Best Project award.

Other top accolades earned by the IST Building 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


In addition, the IST Building has been featured in numerous publications including Glass Magazine’s “2015 Top Metal Companies” issue, listed as one of the best projects.

“You can’t help but be in awe of the IST Building when you see it,” said Florida Poly Vice Provost of Enrollment Scott Rhodes. “Every university has an iconic structure or focal point that people know and associate with the school’s mission and traditions. It can take decades to build that kind of recognitions and affinity. It’s really cool to see it happen so quickly for Florida Poly.”

The 162,000-square-foot, white-domed IST Building is a moveable and functional work of art. It 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 26 classrooms, the Aula Magna auditorium, faculty and administrative offices, an 11,000-square-foot Commons area and 11 innovation labs – including a 3D printing lab, cyber security lab and heath informatics lab – where students are able to get hands-on experience with the latest technology. Skanska USA was the lead contractor.

“It’s pretty neat to attend class in a building that really exemplifies creativity, innovation and engineering – everything Florida Poly is about,” said Veronica Perez Herrera, President of the Student Government Association at Florida Poly. “The IST is what first captured the imaginations of many of us here and inspired us to come to Florida Poly. It’s a point of pride for us.”

To learn more about the IST Building and access photos and videos, visit www.floridapoly.edu/givingtuesday.

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