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Stempel Complex

By Perkins+Will | Miami

09/25/2014

With a need to bring together multiple academic and research programs for Florida International University's (FIU) Extreme Event Institute under one roof, Perkins+Will designed a technologically advanced building that is dedicated to hurricane-based research and academics: the Stempel Complex.

At 119,000 square feet, the facility—which is tracking toward LEED Gold certification—studies and provides data to the U.S. government, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and various international meteorological agencies and institutes about the effect of extreme natural events on people, society, and economics.

“Because of social missions and the building's unique relationship to nature, the planning concept for the Stempel Complex was fundamentally based on maximization of daylight, healthy building practices, and high-performance electrical and mechanical systems,” said Pat Bosch, LEED AP, design director at Perkins+Will’s Miami office. “It’s a building that embodies the missions of its programs.”

Designed to provide flexible research and teaching space to serve multidisciplinary research programs, the building surrounds an oval-shaped central courtyard. This space provides daylighting to all interior spaces, allowing for maximum flexibility and internal reconfiguration, promoting self-shading, and enhancing building and pedestrian circulation.

“The complex houses programs that relate directly and indirectly with the forces of nature and their impact on the physical and social fabric of communities,” said Bosch. “A building that represents a sense of fluid nature and motion emerged from the design process, as well as a space that would allow for self-shading, breeze maximization, and a sense of direction while creating a focal central court.”

With added connectivity by floating the research labs two stories above, the central courtyard is easily oriented to the quad. The building’s incremental footprint offset provides self-shading solar protection along the south and west facades, while the east exposure continues a rhythm of alternating glass and precast concrete that transforms into large shading fins.

Bosch’s latest work with the Gates Foundation and its initial STEM Education Coalition—which promotes innovative and creative approaches to designing educational spaces—was utilized in the design of the Stempel Complex. With the completion of this project, FIU has enhanced the northern edge of the campus with a new greenbelt and successfully connected existing buildings throughout the health sciences northeast corner via covered walkways.

“FIU’s pioneering leadership team has the foresight to bring academic and community engagement to the 21st century,” said Bosch. “They are truly transforming their platform regionally and globally.”

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