01.12.2015Architecture, For Fun

Architecture Tour - Tampa Bay Area

During a trip home I visited a few recent additions to the architectural landscape in the Tampa Bay area.

Innovation, Science and Technology Building (IST) – Florida Polytechnic University


Polk City, Fl.
Architect – Santiago Calatrava

The Innovation, Science and Technology Building (IST) consists of open classroom space, labs, lecture halls, and faculty offices. It is situated at the end of a rectilinear lake that stretches across the newly formed FPU campus. Currently it is only one of a handful of buildings on the campus and is meant to be the centerpiece of FPU. The IST incorporates some of Calatrava’s typical design elements such as skeletal shading devices and a white color pallate. It is a striking building when seen in the flat, barren context of its central Florida surroundings. The common interior spaces are open and filled with light. Classrooms and lecture areas are fairly standard. The entire building is ringed with faculty offices which are quite small. It seems like most of the visual power created by this building is the result of its lack of surroundings and you begin to wonder how effective it will be once the other university facilities are completed.


The Salvador Dali Museum


St. Petersburg, Fl.
Architect – HOK

The Dali Museum, completed in 2012, replaces the out of date and characterless museum that proceeded it. The building form and materials are a play on the solid and fluid elements that characterize Dali’s work. The building also attempts to bring to life the surrealism that Dali was known for. The building is basically a massive concrete cube bisected by a flowing, triangulated glass blob. Other elements such as rock formations and various punctures within the concrete form dot the exterior. The interior focal point is a large concrete coil that rises along as part of the main stair. The coil pierces through the middle of the central glass blob and guides you to the second level where the galleries are located. The galleries are modest in size and seperated into two spaces devoted to the permanent collection and traveling exhibits.


The Usonian House – Florida Southern College


Lakeland, Fl.
Architect – Frank Lloyd Wright

Florida Southern College is known to contain the the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in one location. It is the only campus he designed and is said to be the closest he ever came to completing his vision of what architecture should be.


Recently one of his Usonian Houses has been constructed from original plans and serves as a museum / visitor center dedicated to Wright’s architecture at the campus. The term “Usonian” was used by Wright to describe affordable, small housing made from indiginous materials with a stong relationship between the interior and exterior. Desiged as faculty housing, none were ever built during the construction of the campus. Upon entering you recognize all of the familiar elements attributed to Wright’s architecture; low ceilings, a central living space and a large hearth. Floor to ceiling folding glass doors work to bring the outside in and make the interior seem more spacious and open than it really is.


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