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Projects / Education

How Early Manufacturer Involvement and Innovative Building Solutions Helped Create a Work of Art

FloridaPoly_Header-1As a single source for supplying building and architecture needs, Oldcastle Building Solutions is a priceless resource for multifaceted projects that have construction product needs in glass, precast and aggregates, or need recommendations for trusted partners in all areas.

By collaborating early on with a solutions company such as Oldcastle, contractors gain access to a wide range of solutions with just one point of contact, which helps keep projects on schedule and on budget.

The benefits of such a partnership are obvious in the outcomes. Here, we present a case study on one of Oldcastle's recent collaborations.

Project Snapshot

Project: Florida Polytechnic University's Innovation, Science & Technology (IST) building

Building type: Higher education/research

Project size: 162,000 sq. ft.

Total building cost: $60 million

Location: Lakeland, Florida

Architect: Santiago Calatrava/Festina Lente LLC

Construction manager at risk: Skanska USA Building

Building materials: Aluminum, concrete, radius glass and sloped glazing

Building features: 94 operable louver arms that move in rotation with the sun to provide optimal sunlight indoors, vaulted ceilings and large, open spaces; covered outdoor spaces


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). Florida Poly's 171-acre campus was first imagined by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, and although it's currently only in its first stages of development, once complete, the campus will portray an atmosphere of innovation and technological eminence, with the Innovation, Science and Technology 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, Florida, 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 Oldcastle, the architect, and the subcontractors, they were able to relay building material needs to just one point of contact, allowing Oldcastle 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, "Oldcastle was 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, Oldcastle's business units provided building material recommendations and supplied and delivered building solutions materials. Our business units include:

  • Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, glass
  • Oldcastle Materials Group, aggregates
  • Oldcastle Precast, Meadow Burke concrete accessories and precast concrete

Collaboration in early stages

Arguably, the largest concern and driver of a project is cost. First visions of a project tend to be elaborate and over-budget. Prior to building construction, Oldcastle can help keep project budgets in line by suggesting product alternatives that offer the same or better performance for less cost.

For example, during the IST's schematic design phase, Skanska partnered with Oldcastle 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.

In other projects, Oldcastle can assist even earlier in pre-construction phases by providing introductions between developers, general contractors or architects and owners who can fund projects, or even tenants when anchor tenants are necessary to move forward.

Collaboration in later stages

Oldcastle's involvement doesn't end once the building materials are delivered. As your projects develop, we're able to introduce preferred subcontractors to help build out the project from start to finish. Our network of highly qualified and experienced subs provides just one more benefit of working with a one-stop building solutions company, saving you from having to research and confirm your subs' expertise and ability.

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 Oldcastle'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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