Florida University building conveys movement, flight and aerodynamics

This Student Union Building at the Florida Campus of the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is inspired by the gracefulness of birds in flight. Designed by Ikon.5 architects, a firm based in New York, the ‘Mori Hosseini’ Student Union is an expression of the university’s mission to teach the science, practice, and business of aviation and aerospace. Located at the front door of its Daytona Beach Campus, the building’s gently soaring form stands as a bold new landmark for the school.

The 177,000-square-foot (16,444 sqm) student union building at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University contains a range of different programs. A soaring, triple-height commons integrates the collaborative social and learning environments, while the lounges, dining venues, group study rooms, clubs and organization offices, career services, student affairs, and the university library culminate in a multi-story amphitheater that overlooks the centrally positioned commons and building entry.

An event center on the first floor can accommodate up to 900 people, while the top floor houses the university library beneath a dynamic 200-foot (61 meter) arching skylight. Finally, a roof terrace on the second floor allows students to gaze upon the adjacent runway of Daytona International Airport and beyond to rocket launches from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

‘Key to embodying the ethos of Embry-Riddle in architectural form is the exuberant and creative structural steel expression that illustrates movement, flight, and aerodynamics both externally and internally,’ says Ikon.5 architects. ‘The curving bowed roof on top of the structure not only provides solar shading from the harsh Floridian sun but also invokes sinuous avian forms. The vertical, exposed struts convey a feather-like quality and are structural members that tie down the curved roof form from wind uplift, particularly, for hurricane resistance.’

‘The great, exposed double arches that wrap the exterior support the vertical roof struts at the shading overhang and signify the main entrances to the building,’ continues the design team. ‘Internally, an exposed 200-foot curving steel arch bisects the middle of the plan and supports a glass roof above, allowing the students of aviation the ability to look skyward while inside. The building’s architecturally exposed structural steel (AESS) is an integral design element and helps create an exterior and interior aesthetic that feels finished and dynamic.’

YAKETY YAK Furniture Blog, mostly about cool libraries, furniture and design – keeping you abreast of our world. (Source: Designboom. Images by Brad Feinknopf).