Florida Polytechnic University’s IST Building Wins National Steel Building Award

December 2, 2015

(Chicago, IL) – The Innovation, Science and Technology Building (IST) at Florida Polytechnic University in Lakeland, Fla., has earned national recognition in the 2015 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2). In honor of this achievement, members of the project team will be presented with awards from the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) during a ceremony at the building on Thursday, December 10 at 10 a.m.

Conducted annually by AISC, the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievement in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects across the country. The IDEASaward is the highest, most prestigious honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S. and recognizes the importance of teamwork, coordination and collaboration in fostering successful construction projects.

The building’s project team members include:

  • Owner: Florida Polytechnic University, Lakeland, Fla.
  • Owner’s Representative: Lighthouse Advisors, Tampa, Fla.
  • Design Architect: Santiago Calatrava, New York
  • Architect of Record: Alphonso Architects, Tampa, Fla.
  • Structural Engineer: Thornton Tomasetti, Newark, N.J.
  • General Contractor: Skanska USA Building, Tampa
  • Steel Fabricator: E & H Steel Corp., Midland City, Ala. (AISC Member/Certified)
  • Erector: Midwest Steel, Detroit (AISC Member/Advanced Certified)
  • Detailer: Dowco Consultants Ltd, Surrey, B.C. (AISC Member)

The IST Building is a National award winner in the category of projects $15 Million to $75 Million, making it one of only four projects around the country to receive the National honor. Each year, the IDEASawards honor National and Merit award winners in three categories, based on constructed value: projects less than $15 million; projects $15 million to $75 million; and projects greater than $75 million. Each project is judged on its use of structural steel from both an architectural and structural engineering perspective, with an emphasis on: creative solutions to project’s program requirements; applications of innovative design approaches in areas such as connections, gravity systems, lateral load resisting systems, fire protection and blast; aesthetic and visual impact of the project; innovative use of architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS); technical or architectural advances in the use of the steel; and the use of innovative design and construction methods.

“This project above all others elevates steel into the 21st century,” commented IDEASawards judge, Paul Endres, S.E., FAIA, a principal with Endrestudio, which has offices in Emeryville, Calif., and Chicago. “Bracing itself with a completely closed system, this structure seems to melt away into the fluid lines of its graceful form.”

Florida Polytechnic University is the state’s newest university and the only one dedicated solely to a curriculum of science, technology, engineering and math. Founded in 2012, FPU started its new campus building program with the 162,000-sq.-ft IST Building.

This two-story reinforced concrete structure’s signature element is the 250-ft-long glass atrium shaded by 94 operable louver arms, all of which are supported by structural steel boxed plate assemblies spanning up to 72 ft. These assemblies are designed to carry not only the load of the glass atrium but also the extreme loads of the shading system’s operable louvers arms, which are up to 62 ft long and move during the day to act as sun shades. The arms are attached to a structural steel plate stanchion that is field welded to the structural steel plate box assembly. The load is transferred by the box plate assemblies and network of internal plate stiffeners to the foot assembly and then to a reinforced concrete ring beam.

The structural steel box assemblies were shop fabricated, then most were shipped in two pieces due to length and joined in the center at the job site. The lower portion of the plate assemblies are Architecturally Exposed Structural Steel (AESS) and exposed to view from the grand hall below.

The IDEASaward dates back more than 50 years with AISC. And about this year’s winning IST Building, Roger E. Ferch, P.E., president of AISC, said, “The entire Florida Polytechnic University IST Building project team has shown how structural steel can be used to create structures that combine beauty and practicality. The result is a facility that serves the university extremely well, while providing an example of what can be achieved when designing and constructing projects with steel.”

High-resolution images of the Florida Polytechnic University IST Building project are available upon request by contacting AISC’s Tasha Weiss at 312.670.5439 or For more information about the IDEASawards and to view all of this year’s winners, please visit


For more information contact:

Dani Friedland
Marketing Communications Strategist

American Institute of Steel Construction

The American Institute of Steel Construction, headquartered in Chicago, is a non-partisan, not-for-profit technical institute and trade association established in 1921 to serve the structural steel design community and construction industry. AISC's mission is to make structural steel the material of choice by being the leader in structural steel-related technical and market-building activities, including: specification and code development, research, education, technical assistance, quality certification, standardization, market development, and advocacy. AISC has a long tradition of service to the steel construction industry of providing timely and reliable information. 

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