Movable roof a modern marvel

by Tania Wannenburg
Movable roof a modern marvel

With its operable roof and spectacular exterior, the IST building has become an icon of the Florida Polytechnic University.

The spectacular exterior and movable roof system of the Innovation, Science and Technology Building (IST) at the Florida Polytechnic University’s new campus certainly serves to create an inspirational environment for innovative education.

Designed by Santiago Calatrava, the IST building, which functions as the primary facility on campus, has been constructed on the north side of a linear lake and is made up of aluminium, concrete and glass. In time, more buildings will be added around the lake, with four pedestrian bridges and a ring road ensuring that everything on campus is at most a ten-minute walk away.

Adjustable roof
Stretching across the 18 580m² structure, the 76 metre operable roof constitutes two sets of 46 aluminium louvres that can be raised or lowered in relation to the sun, with the purpose of either providing shading or maximising daylight through a skylight into the commons below.

Reminiscent of butterfly wings, these louvres are hydraulically operated. They are individually controlled and can be programmed to follow the course of the sun throughout the day. Solar panels are planned to be fitted to the aluminium louvres to create a solar array of just over 1 850m².

Arched framework
Renowned for his bone-white, anthropomorphic, movable designs, Calatrava’s design of the exterior of the IST features another striking component – a continuous pergola envelope that surrounds the entire building from the ground up to the roof.

This light-steel lattice functions as a perceptual ceiling for the outdoor garden terrace and the wide walkway around the IST building. In addition to allowing natural ventilation, partial shade and a view across the lake, it also reduces the solar load on the building by 30%.

Apart from enhancing and reflecting the building’s extraordinary appearance, the lake further acts as the primary stormwater retention and storage vessel for site irrigation. The entire campus site’s sensitive ecology is a valuable polytechnic educational tool.

With its original design and exciting architectural features, the IST building has already become an iconic symbol of the university.

For more information, visit www.archinect.com and www.archdaily.com, to which full thanks and acknowledgment are given.

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