Entry Title: " New College of Florida Academi"
Category: Professional, Build|Design
Designer(s): Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists

Entry Description:

The New College of Florida Academic Center is the first project to be realized from the New College of Florida Master Plan, prepared by Moule & Polyzoides in 2006. Among the most visible structures on campus, the new building will provide 36,000 square feet of offices, classrooms and support space and will be the first of a series of buildings to form the Colleges main quad. Targeted for USGBC LEED Gold certification, it forwards the sustainable principles integral to the Master Plan, which are based on traditional methods of conservation supplemented by high-tech solutions.

The master plan for New College a unique 140-acre residential honors institution known for its student-directed study programs located in Sarasota, Florida includes over one million square feet of new building capacity, new academic quadrangles, sustainable landscapes and large regenerative gardens. Traffic calming techniques discourage automobile use and, along with pedestrian and bicycle paths, create a pedestrian-friendly campus.

The Academic Centers combination of vernacular and contemporary design incorporates many traditional and passive sustainable strategies, rather than relying exclusively on expensive modern technologies that eventually become obsolete or require expensive maintenance and updating. The design also establishes the Colleges evolving architectural character, which is rooted in its tropical context. The north side of the structure features a tower and a formal entry that face the campus entry drive while its open and receptive south and west sides face the existing library. A new shared plaza featuring a small caf encourages student interaction, forming a central nexus and a gathering point for students, fostering a thriving academic community on a geographically dispersed campus.

Sited on a former parking lot, the Academic Center added no new parking and significantly expands the open space network of the campus. The many sustainable site and building design features include storm water retention and reuse, an energy efficient mechanical plant, carbon dioxide monitoring, lighting sensors, natural day lighting and natural ventilating. The building also incorporates passive design features such as operable shutters, deep arcades and glazing with a low solar heat gain coefficient.

The shutters, vernacular to south Florida, encourage users to control light and heat, minimizing the strong south and west light, while providing natural cooling and considerably reducing overall energy use. Two different shutter types are used: a Bahama-style shutter with permanent louvers and a sliding shutter with operable louvers. The Bahama-style shutters reference traditional design while the more easily adjusted sliding shutters help regulate shade, heat and views.

The buildings deep, shuttered arcades, augmented by overhead fans, help control temperature and light by allowing natural cross ventilation, resulting in a considerable reduction of energy use. These arcades also provide views and are suitable for classes and meetings as well as giving protection from hurricanes.

Rain water is collected from roof runoff and is reused for flushing toilets. The rain/storm water also naturally percolates through the central plaza's grassed courtyard into an underground storage system for retention rather than running off the formerly paved surfaces of the parking lot where the building is sited.

Interior and exterior lighting systems minimize negative environmental impact with occupancy sensors that automatically switch off interior lights when spaces are unoccupied, exterior full cut-off light fixtures that minimize light projected upward into the dark sky and an Energy Management System that controls exterior lighting, based on a time-of-day schedule.

Carbon dioxide is monitored by the controls system, ensuring adequate air ventilation in occupied areas and the Energy Management System automatically resets room temperature set points in unoccupied rooms, dramatically reducing energy costs.

Currently under construction, the building incorporates both regionally manufactured and recycled low-emitting materials such as adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, carpets and composite wood. Well over 90% of construction waste is being recycled; construction is adhering to a strict erosion and sediment control plan.

The New College of Floridas Academic Center is designed specifically in response to the unique environment of its dramatic bay front location in Sarasota. It demonstrates the imperative of linking its context with passive and active sustainable design measures, toward a truly green architecture.

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