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  • Steve Belflower

How Architecture Will Launch NASA Into Next Century

Orlando, FL -- All systems are go at HuntonBrady for NASA’s new headquarters building at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The seven-story, 190,000 sf building we designed is currently under construction, and you can view its progress on NASA’s central campus website.

The Headquarters project is a great fit for our firm. HuntonBrady and NASA are both deeply rooted in Central Florida (our firm was founded in Orlando in 1947). I grew up watching Saturn V and Space Shuttle launches from my front yard. We want to see the Central Campus Complex at KSC grow with future generations. It is really a privilege to play a part in shaping KSC’s future as a 21st Century launch complex.

The new Headquarters will be a gateway building and central campus hub for NASA’s employees at the Cape. Early in the design process we established goals to build a sustainable, modern campus whose main building both recognizes and reacts to its occupants. We are paying close attention to materials, geometry, solar orientation, pedestrian friendly public spaces, and work areas that are organized and innovative. Our design is sustainable, highly collaborative with user groups, and ultimately will embody the optimistic spirit of NASA and KSC – who they are now and what they are becoming.

The Headquarters architecture is designed to be iconic but not ostentatious. The function of the building contributes to the design. Its bow is a nod to both the nautical origins of exploration and an expression of a tall rocket prepared for launch into space. Its design alludes to both time past and time to come.

The first floor will house a wide variety of amenities for employees such as a postal office, print shop, barbershop/salon, credit union, public auditorium and food court.

Our design team is pursuing USGBC LEED Gold Certification with energy-efficiency and sustainability at the forefront of design and construction decisions. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted a invulnerable building that could withstand the harsh elements of its environment. The headquarters is an extremely durable building that will require little maintenance. It can withstand hurricane force winds as well as the unrelenting subtropical Florida sun.

The east and west ends were designed with very little glass to compensate for harsh morning and afternoon sun. Louvered window panes on the south side provide solar shading and allow for unobstructed windows with incredible views to Port Canaveral and the Air Force Base launch pads. The north elevation, which has no solar heat gain, is comprised of floor-to-ceiling glass to take advantage of the great views of KSC’s Assembly Building and historic launch pads. The building envelope is light in color to reflect sunlight.

The image you see here is just one half of the total building planned for the site. Phase II will double the building’s size. Its shape will mimic the first wing, resulting in a symmetrical building with a center lobby.

HuntonBrady has completed many projects with NASA, including two buildings. We designed a 16,000 sf launch critical Data Center that consolidated information from many different sources and replaced existing IT facilities with an energy-efficient, cost-saving building. The project meets USGBC LEED Silver sustainability criteria and was recognized with a Space Flight Awareness Team Award.


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