The Global Project of the Year is for Calatrava

The Architect-Engineer has received one award more, this is the best project of the year by the ENR magazine.

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Hi, I’m Rodolfo, again, and I have to warn that the scenario in which the architecture moves is growing exponentially, as well as the manifestations emanating from it. However, all that glitters isn´t gold and also proliferate the false “prophets”, which designed with unwillingly (what is called the architectural apathy) becoming in bad copies, already Cristóbal Colón said: “Finds the happiness in your work, or you’ll never be happy I don’t know if this is said before or after discovering the Bahamas Islands, a spectacular place where very well could construct my future building… with my expert opinion and the permission of the local authorities, of course.

As I was saying, with the passage of time the architectural designs have been joined together and mixing, so that it is currently very difficult to differentiate between styles and guidelines. Very personal expressions and the signature of the author arise from this maremagnum, in other words, becomes in trend the style with which the designer print his work. For know that a building is from Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid or Norman Forster, almost always only you have to look it. But of all these manifestations, there is one that shines with its own light and who signs with the name of Santiago Calatrava.

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One of his latest creations, the IST (Faculty of innovation, science and technology of the Polytechnic University of Florida) has recently received another award that wear with proudly: the global project of the year, awarded by the prestigious American magazine Engineering News Record (ENR). To get it he faced more than 100 competitors, and had to beat them in five points: overcoming global and international, security, innovation and contribution to the industry and the community, quality and craftsmanship of construction (I love this point) and, of course, function and aesthetics of design.

In 2009, was commissioned the Master Plan of the University of Florida in Lakeland to Mr Calatrava. The designer designed all the framework around which would establish five buildings: the innovation, science and technology faculty, the admissions Centre, the centre of control of the campus, the residence and the Wellness Centre. In total 170,54 acres (687.970,60 sq m) and may reach to 530,87 acres (more than two square kilometres of surface), they will not complain of lack of land.

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The IST covers 15,000 square meters (162.000 square feet), the cost was some 60 million dollars (53,60 million euros) and they are very proud of having managed to perform the work within the time limits and with the budget, in the case of a work of this type, is very difficult to achieve. As I’m not conceited, I will not tell what happened one distant day at a meeting of friends in France (Vive La France!), good, since you insist… Turns out that I was heated and I shouted to a distinguished politician of Orlando, that his city and Tampa should have the opportunity to have a learning centre able to meet the challenges of the innovation and the technology… curious that have opened this one years later? Not?

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A building of oval-shaped and only two storeys of high, is located on the edge of the Interstate 4, surrounded by a lake which serves as a warehouse of waters from the rains, and which is crossed by several bridges. In the distance the skeletal character gives you a clue of who is the architect, and when you get close, there is not doubt when you distinguish the metals with that are carried out the construction. Yes, we know that Calatrava is prone to mix and define symmetrical areas with metals (steel and aluminium in this case) giving appearance and volume.

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In the inside was distributed the offices of the Faculty and the President of the University, the classrooms and a library very particular, since does not have a single book, but have more than 130,000 e-books available to their students. This library is at the top of the building, a wonderful corner for the students and possessing a Brise-soleil mobile system consisting of 94 aluminium grilles that are mobilized to prevent the direct entry of the Sun (this is Florida!!). This system also allows to set it to you reorient it according the date and the day, definitely I want one as well in my building. In the future, solar panels will be installed to generate the power of movement. Hardesty and Hanover were the responsible for designing the system of mechanization of the Brise-soleil.

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As might expect in this kind of buildings, another study of architecture accompanied to the Santiago Calatrava on this attractive project: Alonso Architects, a local study with several awards to its credit. Two stairs (with dubious aesthetic) carry to the top floor in the ends of the complex, is also arrive from the interior through two halls with floor of polished concrete, whose aesthetic is also questionable (must be said it). The classrooms and the offices are located on the outside of the halls, to benefit the brightness of the day and for enjoy of the views at night. Studio classrooms, laboratories and an auditorium are located inside. On the first floor are located the offices (looking outside) and, following the same pattern that the ground floor, a conference room and a study to the interior, apart, of course, of the library without books (I love this library without books!).

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The company TLC Engineering for Architecture, has been responsible of the design of electrical, mechanical and sanitary installation, needless to say that in a school of innovation, science and technology, these elements are vital, and its organization and functionality should be to test of students. For the design and the structural calculation was called to a company that we have seen some work, Thornton Tomasetti, of the Moscow Federation towers (for example). They talked of 84 leaves continuous pergola arched aluminium which gives shade to upper level terraces and on the ground around the perimeter of the building and who manage to reduce by 30% the solar incidence in the construction.

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The construction companies were Nujak Development and Skanska USA, which will also be responsible for the other projected buildings. Anderson Lane Inc helped in the planning of the Master Plan and the rest of constructions in civil engineering, including economic studies, rainwater infrastructures and the coordination of the projects mechanical, electrical and plumbing. It should be noted that being the first Campus building should function as an element of transition until the rest was completed and in operation. In this sense they included more classrooms, offices and laboratories that they will used really, very clever.

I am waiting for to send to my nieces and nephews to study (at least one of them) and to enjoy of this wonderful University. If they don’t want to come… what happen? Looking at the building, I do not consider this possibility. Bye bye.

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