The new USF Honors College is a 86,000 sf, 6-story facility in Tampa, FL. FGM acted as the Prime Architect in collaboration with Morphosis, the Design Architect. The new Honors College facility strives to provide students, faculty, advisors and administrators an inspiring new home, fostering interdisciplinary creativity and conversation in multiple, broad academic fields, including the Arts, Sciences and Humanities. The Honors College program is geared to merging students and faculty from various disciplines and serves as a vessel for discovery and discussion through collaborative and interdisciplinary engagements. In order to support and encourage a wide range of communication in this new community, the Honors College is six stories. A lower building encourages walking and greater pedestrian activity. This, in turn, increases the frequency of casual encounters and informal meetings critical for interdisciplinary discussions and work collaboration.
The design includes an enclosed but transparent ground floor, welcoming the community, with a space large enough for communal gatherings, event spaces, and other large, programmed events. A more opaque mass sits above this light, transparent ground floor, containing various program elements. Additional communal spaces are provided on the 2nd floor, with more Honors College centric programs being located on the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th floors. An atrium, centrally located, connects all users into a single spatial experience. The atrium is lined with meetings spaces, immediately making visible various forms of collaboration and interactions. Both the first and second floors anchor important meeting and event spaces, as well as collaborative and open work spaces available for all students. The ground floor Event space is highly visible from Sessums Mall as students approach the building from the Central Campus. Enclosed with full height glass for maximum views, the interior café space extends to an adjacent, outdoor space for additional outdoor seating. An exterior covered terrace is located on the second floor, above the event space. This exterior space is accessible both from inside and outside of the building, serving as an outdoor meeting, relaxation and studying space. The new Honors College strives to achieve LEED silver. Similar to the building’s academic mission, the design of the building strives to merge site planning, building planning, engineering, sustainability, and architecture into an integrated, cohesive and expressive facility. The environmental goals manifest themselves into the building form and expresses its sustainable features.