Facilities of Merit 2009: University of Florida
University of FloridaYear in Showcase: 2009
The University of Florida football program was in need of a renovation and expansion of facilities located at the existing football stadium. Private donors stepped forward to support improvements to the strength and conditioning areas (intended for all student-athletes), as well as to offices and support spaces serving the football program. The creation of this dynamic facility amplifies the nationally renowned brand of UF football.
The exterior “Gateway of Champions Plaza” features engraved granite pavers and aluminum wall displays honoring UF football greats. Donors are recognized on the granite base of “Bull Gator,” a commissioned sculpture. A landscaped terrace adjacent to the existing stadium entry gate is actually an energy-efficient vegetated roof. Signifying the importance of Gator football, a pair of monumental brick walls that soar to more than 55 feet tall serve as markers for the new facility.
The basement-level strength and conditioning space was renovated and expanded to more than double the previous size. Working within the footprint and structure of the existing stadium presented challenges to creating a single unified space. Bold arcs in the ceiling plane, varying ceiling heights, bulkheads, accent walls and lighting were utilized to make the space cohesive.
The architects were challenged to provide more program space in the original building footprint. They made opportunities out of constraints to add exciting architectural features and designed a facility that looks completely new.
— Mike Pratl
Reimagining the home of the football program resulted in an elegant and professional feel for new interior facilities that represent the well-known Florida brand. Equally important, the project created new terraces, a memorial plaza and a new symbolic center for the ritual celebration of football in the public zone that surrounds the existing stadium.
— Vik Jaunkalns
Nicely integrated into the football stadium, it holds its own, and certainly sets the tone for the importance of the football program.
— Tom Seymour
Project DetailsArchitect: RDG Planning & Design; Des Moines, Iowa
Construction Cost: $21.9 million
Square Feet: 59,682
Occupancy: July 2008