Florida Polytechnic University Student Development Center

Florida Polytechnic University

Wellness & Aquatics Center

Florida Polytechnic University Student Development Center
Florida Polytechnic
Educational; Recreation
In Progress
10,000 SF


Florida Polytechnic.org:  Florida Poly to Build Phoenix-shaped Wellness & Aquatics Center
The Ledger: Florida Poly to build $2 million wellness center
Tampa Bay Times: Florida Polytechnic’s new student center will look like a bird
Channel 10 News (Tampa/CBS): Florida Poly to build Wellness & Aquatics Center
Florida Trend: Florida Poly to build phoenix-shaped Wellness & Aquatics Center
LKLDNOW: Florida Poly Plans Phoenix-Shaped Fitness Center
ABC News (WFTS): Florida Poly to break ground on new Wellness and Aquatics Center

Project Description

The University challenged our design team to develop a recreation facility that would personify the unique character of the newly established and innovative community. With an architectural program directly linked to the student body, it was important for the project to reinforce their creative spirit and interactive vibe. This student culture recently played an active role in the development and selection process of the University’s mascot, the Phoenix.

Our design team quickly recognized that the imagery and connotations of the Phoenix are not only emblematic of the University’s research-focused scholastic vision, but also symbolized the new building’s focus on health and wellness. Student exercise activities initiate a phoenix-like “regeneration and renewal” in a tangible way through personal physical fitness during periodic intermissions of academic endeavors. Additionally, university mascots are most often associated with an institution’s athletic programs. Although there are no immediate plans to develop an intercollegiate or varsity athletics program by the University, this new facility will provide a central hub for general recreation, intramural and club sports activities that will be offered on campus. This association creates a prime opportunity to leverage architectural design to build and promote brand awareness, further validating the inspiration of the Phoenix on the project. With a campus site location that will be very visible from the adjacent highway, the building design will serve as an outward physical display of the school spirit to the greater Central Florida community.

Crane Instructions Horizontal Colored


As the first new permanent building to be constructed by the University following the signature Innovation, Science and Technology (IST) Building by architect Santiago Calatrava, it was paramount that our design team maintained a high level of architectural distinction through rational applications of the campus design standards. Our goal was to develop the project with a consistency in form, pattern, materials and color that connects the project to the campus and extends the established distinctive sense of place. The symmetry of the project echoes those from nature and the human body that are evident in the IST Building, the Campus Master Plan, and also throughout Calatrava’s work globally. Both exterior form and interior space are expressed as a direct resultant of the cohesive architectural and structural approach. All primary interior spaces are flooded with natural light and are organized with a simple and clear organization. A primary material pallet of concrete, glass and steel, monochromatic finishes with natural wood interior accents.


Solar orientation is a key consideration in the building’s design features. The project maximizes passive energy savings via a true north/south orientation of its axis of symmetry. The northern façade (which includes the main entry lobby space) incorporates large amounts of glazing. This approach minimizes direct solar heat gain and reduce unwanted solar glare while providing maximum indirect natural daylight to the interior and creating a visual connection from exterior passers-by to the activity within the facility. It also provides views from the interior toward the preserved wooded area of grand oaks to the north, a place for gathering and passive recreation. While the remaining building elevations include reduced exterior glazing, the southern façade is further articulated with a combination of aluminum (horizontal) and tensile fabric (horizontal and vertical) shading elements that respond to mid-day solar condition – the most impactful climatic influence in our Central Florida region. The building’s central “high roof” area is designed with a true-south orientation to maximize future opportunities to incorporate roof-mounted photovoltaic panels that create on-site renewable solar energy.

The pools’ regenerative media filtration system will reduce the required backwash/make-up water by 90% when compared to a traditional sand filter operation, as well as reduce chemical consumption by 25% and 30% energy savings when paired with a variable frequency drive (VFD) pump motor. Both the main building’s HVAC equipment and the pool’s heating and cooling demand will be met through a joint-use ground source heat pump (GSHP) open-loop geothermal system. Other sustainable design features include high-performance low-E exterior glazing, solar-reflective “cool” roof materials, low-VOC interior finish materials, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and “Florida Friendly” landscape design.