December 23, 2009

BIM-Delivered Project Designed To Achieve Gold LEED Certification

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 23, 2009) – C.T. Hsu + Associates has completed the $23 million, 100,000 SF University Center, an archetype joint-use facility shared by Valencia College (VC) and the University of Central Florida (UCF).  The firm delivered the facility using Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology, a powerful platform for managing a project’s design and construction phases using a digital, three-dimensional model linked to a master database of project information.  It is designed to achieve Gold LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. 

About University Center
UCF and the region’s four community colleges recently embarked on an initiative to expand students’ access to higher education by giving community college students more choices of bachelor’s degree programs in their home counties.  University Center, located on VCC’s west campus, allows students to enroll at VCC, attend classes on the West Campus, and then transfer to UCF to complete their degree program without having to relocate to UCF’s main campus.  The three-story facility provides classroom space, offices and labs to serve an estimated 1,704 community college students pursuing bachelor and graduate degrees in nursing and engineering. 
Florida Governor Charlie Crist attended the University Center’s grand opening ceremony.  “Every day our students show us their commitment and determination to succeed.  It is our responsibility to provide them with high-quality educational facilities such as this to support them as they strive to achieve their goals,” he remarked.  “And, in times such as these, to deliver a facility like this on time and on budget is something that all of us in Tallahassee truly appreciate.”

About Building Information Modeling
BIM technology enabled the firm to complete University Center on time and on budget despite a number of unique complexities.  “C.T. Hsu + Associates had to design a single building to meet the needs of two unique partners in a way that combined our strengths to make it a seamless, positive experience for students,” according to UCF Vice Provost David Harrison, Ph.D.  “Secondly, the firm was asked to do so in a time of unparalleled budget uncertainty.” 

BIM technology maximizes efficiency through all phases of the design, fabrication and construction processes by enhancing communication between all participants.  It uses a digital, three-dimensional model linked to a single database that combines the project design, fabrication information, erection instructions and project management logistics. 

“For 25 years, our firm has thrived on a foundation that demands architectural excellence, cherishes client relationships and nurtures professional growth.  BIM advances all of these principles,” said C.T. Hsu, FAIA.  “It allows owners to effectively consider and balance project options to achieve their ultimate goals, and it significantly strengthens the entire project team’s understanding of the owner’s desired outcomes.”  BIM is predicted to achieve total marketplace use in the next five years, according to Building Design + Construction magazine.

LEED/Sustainable Design Features
From the outset, University Center was designed to maximize energy efficiency and integrate sustainable design concepts to serve as a tangible example of green building practices for the students and faculty of both institutions.  Throughout the process, CTH+A worked closely with staffs at VCC and UCF to identify sustainability goals and design features for the project.  The most significant of these include:

  • A 100 kilowatt rooftop solar array providing approximately 10% of the building’s power.
  • Use of low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water use by 30%.
  • Mechanical and electrical systems designed to improve energy efficiency by 28% and save the owner approximately $34,000 a year on energy costs.
  • Use of external sun shade devices to limit solar heat gain.
  • Use of interior light shelves to reflect daylight deeper into the classrooms.
  • Daylight sensing light controls to automatically shut off artificial light when adequate daylight is available.
  • Use of materials with recycled content.
  • Recycling 75% of the construction waste away from landfills.

C.T. Hsu + Associates ( is an Orlando-based architectural planning and design firm celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2009.  A past “Firm of the Year” as selected by the American Institute of Architects - Florida Association, CTH+A focuses on a mix of mid to large scale projects in the education, government, transportation and mixed-use development sectors.  Its multidisciplinary approach ranges from urban planning and design to architecture and interiors.  





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