Rising above the dust and debris in the center of campus, SIPA II – the new 85,000-square-foot “west wing” of the Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs – is scheduled for completion in Fall 2022.
While the official opening of the $40 million, LEED-certified building won’t be until Spring 2023, Green School administrators are already looking forward to pulling most of the school’s eight departments and 17 centers under one roof, giving students and faculty more opportunities to connect and collaborate.
“This beautiful new building designed by famed architect Yann Weymouth is going to be a real game changer for the Green School,’’ said founding Dean John F. Stack Jr. “We are so excited to see the fulfillment of Ambassador (Steven J.) Green’s vision for us as one of the greatest schools of international and public affairs in the world.”
Weymouth, renowned for his work with I.M. Pei on the Louvre in Paris, said the building’s design takes its inspiration from the mission of the Green School. Shared spaces with natural light will allow “the outside in” and reflect the fundamental structure of the Green School as interdisciplinary and collaborative, he said.
“We wanted to create a west wing tying seamlessly to the existing, providing easy navigation, ample light and views, encouraging departmental collaboration, promoting faculty and student interaction, and inspiring the future world leaders who will be using it,” said Weymouth, design director for special projects with Harvard Jolly Architecture.
The architect’s favorite feature of the new structure?
“The courtyard,’’ he said. “Nestled between the old and new wing, it is a modern version of the classic Oxford or Cambridge quadrangle, a shaded green meeting place, with a unique triangular spiral stair leading to the upper floors and garden terrace. We hope it becomes a memorable place for quiet contemplation, meetings, or events.”
The building is designed to be energy-efficient and high-tech, with its west façade deliberately skewed 30 degrees from due west to reduce the substantial afternoon sun and heat load, he added.
“This was the driver behind making the wing’s triangulated geometry,” Weymouth explained. “Windows feature aluminum sunshades and infrared-blocking glass.”
A covered walkway will link SIPA II to the original SIPA building. In addition, bridges on floors two through five will connect the two structures.
A terrace on the third floor will house an “art in public spaces” installation, said Pedro Botta, executive director of marketing and strategic initiatives, who has served as the chief liaison between the Green School and the construction company, Thornton Construction, Inc.
The recently launched Maurice A. Ferré Institute for Civic Leadership is slated to occupy a large suite of offices on the second floor of the building, named the Ferré Family Floor.
It will include the Ferré Reading Room, the Ferré Collection - chronicling a lifetime of public service and containing the personal library and archives of Maurice A. Ferré - as well as offices for the director, staff, postdoctoral fellows and research scholars.
SIPA II was funded by a combination of philanthropy and state funding - $15 million from Steven J. Green, Dorothea Green, Kimberly Green and the Green Family Foundation, along with $12.7 million from the Florida Legislature. The building still has naming opportunities for future donors, including the lobby, courtyard, terrace, auditorium and various conference rooms and classrooms.
Though plans are still in the works, Botta said there will be an official ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening, sometime in the Spring.
The groundbreaking ceremony for SIPA II was held in October 2019 and included appearances by the Green family, elected officials and other dignitaries, as well as a keynote address by Jim Messina, White House deputy chief of staff under President Barack Obama.
“This project has been a long time coming and a labor of love for many of us,’’ said Botta. “The grand opening will be a time of celebration for our students, faculty and the entire Green School family.”