University of FL M.E. Rinker, Sr. Hall, School of Building Construction: Gainesville, FL
Head of the Class
Rinker Hall at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL helps prove that energy performance can be achieved through superior design, not elevated costs. Rinker Hall achieves 56% energy savings over a conventional building. It was built for $6.6 million or $139/ft². This is roughly the same cost of other classroom buildings completed at about the same time on campus but without the sustainable characteristics. Skylights cover the three-story central circulation spine. Rinker Hall is oriented on a pure north-south solar axis, increasing daylighting contribution by 30%. Daylighting features preserve the natural or benign variability of the light. The building benefits from the cooling effect of the shade pattern. The orientation and organization of the building anticipates near threshold photovoltaic strategies.The three-story building minimizes the site footprint and provides more vegetated areas and open space. Access mapping ensures non-disruptive servicing and large scale access. The metal and glass building is preferable for Rinker's location in a humid climate belt, while the freestanding masonry wall addresses campus context and moderates high thermal loads on the west.