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How Early Supplier Involvement and Innovative Products Helped Create a Work of Art


Welcoming its first students as recently as August of 2014, Florida Polytechnic University is the first science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) university in Florida (which features 11 other public state universities). 

Located in Lakeland, Florida, Florida Poly's 171-acre campus was first imagined by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, and intended to portray an atmosphere of innovation and technological eminence, with the Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) building at the very center of it all. Aptly named, the IST is a visual representation of Florida Poly's core values in innovation, science and technology, featuring vaulted ceilings, bright open spaces, eco-friendly outdoor pergolas providing shade to the first floor Arcade and second floor terraces, rotating to diffuse 60 percent of the sun and reducing solar heat gain.

Geography and weather conditions in Lakeland played a considerable part in the building's design. Temperatures average a balmy 82 degrees throughout the year in Central Florida, with readings in the mid- to upper-90s over the summer. This drove a need for lightweight yet efficient building materials that could stand up to the local temperatures. In addition, the area's significant rain and hurricane season resulted in the need for durable construction that could stand up to hurricane-force winds.

IST Building Design

Perhaps the most recognizable feature on the IST, found just above the building's sloped glaze rooftop, are the 94 aluminum louver arms that the system can move up and down to accommodate the sun's position in the sky, thus controlling solar heat gain and interior lighting. This system simultaneously reduces the load on the building's HVAC system and the need for overhead lighting energy consumption.

Outdoors, the building is surrounded by a concrete walkway, shaded by 84 aluminum pergolas.

The Collaboration Process

Through Skanska's collaboration with CRH, the architect, and the subcontractors, they were able to relay building material needs to just one point of contact, allowing CRH business units to communicate internally to support project needs.

According to Chuck Jablon, Vice President of Operations at Skanska and project executive on the Florida Poly IST building, "they were a key player in collaborating with the administrative architects from Alfonso (Tom Belcher and Joey Ottman) in the finalization for the oval sloped glazed roof that had to stand up to the aesthetics and structural requirements of the project, while also having to work within the overall budget."

Throughout the collaboration, CRH business units provided building material recommendations and supplied and delivered building solutions materials.

Collaboration in early stages

During the IST's schematic design phase, Skanska partnered with CRH early to develop a sloped glazing solution that met specific thermal needs—while of course maintaining aesthetic goals. Due to the IST's oval shape, the building features more curves than angles, making this sloped glazing project an exciting one for us to take part in. Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® was able to quickly identify functional and aesthetic needs for the building, and deliver the materials needed for the job. Known as Early Supplier Involvement (ESI), the approach of having a supplier involved early and creating cross-functional teams during the early stages of product design can create a better end product.

Project Results

Highly-established communication channels will pay off well in any project with a direct effect on the project's outcome—and that's especially true in larger projects. In this case, Skanska and CRH's collaboration resulted in the completion of a highly regarded building that has won several awards and received high praise since its completion in 2014.

One of the most significant awards received is Engineering News-Record (ENR) magazine’s highest honor: Global Project of the Year. You can read more about achieving this honor from Chuck Jablon in The path to ENR magazine’s highest honor.

Some other notable awards:

  • 2014 National Award, American Institute of Steel Construction
  • 2014 Best Higher Education/Research Project, ENR's Southeast's Best Projects Awards
  • 2014 Best Specialty Contracting Project, ENR's Southeast Regional Best of the Best Projects Award
  • 2014 Best Overall Project for ENR's Southeast Regional Best of the Best Project Award
  • 2014 Best Higher Education/Research National Best of the Best Project Award
  • 2015 Best Higher Education/Research Global Best of the Best Project Award
  • 2015 International Architectural Award, Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design
  • 2016 One of the World's Most Breathtaking Buildings, according to a survey of architects by Tech Insider

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