Public Safety Building

University of Florida

The University of Florida Police Department (UFPD) needed a central location to house all of their functions under one roof. The UFPD is housed in five disparate locations across campus, including their primary functions in a historic building constructed in 1928 as a radio station. The goal of the project is to accommodate all of UFPD’s current and future operational needs, as well as increasing public accessibility and visibility on the existing site.

Newfound views to the north frame the campus landmarks such as Century Tower and the University Auditorium. The UF Public Safety project also includes a renovation of Centrex, an existing bunker building that houses emergency functions that services the campus whole. As a conceptual campus lifeline, this complex functions as a beacon, transmitting signals to and from all corners of the University.
“This building represents the beginning of a new era for our department and the University of Florida.”
Assistant Vice President of UF Public and Environmental Safety, Chief Linda Stump-Kurnick
On the third floor, the Global Security Operations Center combines with police dispatch operations to create a centralized source for real-time monitoring. A collaborative partnership between UF’s Physical Security and Information Technology use the center for video feeds, analytics and to assist with improved emergency response time.
The new UF Public Safety building incorporates shared spaces, such as a community meeting room and a multi-purpose area, advancing partnerships among the various public safety departments on campus. These spaces serve as platforms for joint projects, such as training exercises and the creation of innovative crime prevention strategies.
Given the program density and compact site, vertical spatial slots were identified for wayfinding and to create community nodes for the internal UFPD teams to connect. A triple-height volume and warm materials break the institutional norm and greet the students, public, and county residents.
“In addition to creating a highly organized and functional workspace, sustainability takes center stage. With reduced infiltration, solar shading, and compact footprint, the Public Safety Building is designed and built as a high-performance building.”
Ekta P. Desai, AIA, Partner / Design Lead
Through improved coordination and information sharing, the departments have developed a more comprehensive approach to responding to emergencies, resulting in a safer campus community and a notable reduction in crime rates.
As a beacon of safety, the exterior design emulates a protective shield. Facing the urban corner, a curtainwall allows visibility into the main lobby and community spaces promoting public accessibility that dissolves as a transparent corner at its most public intersection.
The materiality of the new UFPD is suggestive of the traditional campus fabric and mimics the brick coloration through new materials. A corten porcelain tile is featured as the exterior cladding of the front entry and salvaged brick from the historic radio station weave through the courtyard as newly imagined benches.