The Oratory at Ave Maria University, Ave Maria, FL

Oct. 1, 2008

Project Innovations 2008


The Oratory at Ave Maria University is the focus of a new town and university development on 4,000 acres of former agricultural land in southern Florida. Home to 6,000 students, Ave Maria University desired an oratory that would be the spiritual, conceptual heart and physical center of the community. At first view, the profile of the 120-foot-tall structure evokes images of a cathedral, but a closer look reveals a contemporary building of glass, steel, and stone. The facility is located at the focus of major roadways and pedestrian paths.

Special Design Elements
The design is rooted in a combination of historic church forms, rendered with contemporary structure, materials, and technology. Structural steel buttresses, which emulate the great cathedrals of Europe, rise from the stone plinth and pierce through to the interior. Inside, details in stone, bronze, wood, and glass are reminiscent of the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Design/Construction Challenges
The unique design presented a series of challenges for the project team. The building's substantial height and open interior volume created structural concerns, and the curved nature of the building required complex connections that would remain exposed. Computer simulations helped the construction team avoid structural deficiencies. Further, the project was successfully completed in a region of southwestern Florida known as "hurricane alley" and "the lightning capital of the world."



back to top

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Building Better Schools

Download this digital resource to better understand the challenges and opportunities in designing and operating educational facilities for safety, sustainability, and performance...

Tips to Keep Facility Management on Track

How do you plan to fill the knowledge gap as seasoned facility managers retire or leave for new opportunities? Learn about the latest strategies including FM tech innovations ...

The Beauty & Benefits of Biophilic Design in the Built Environment

Biophilic design is a hot trend in design, but what is it and how can building professionals incorporate these strategies for the benefits of occupants? This eHandbook offers ...

The Benefits of Migrating from Analog to DMR Two-Way Radios

Are you still using analog two-way radios? Download this white paper and discover the simple and cost-effective migration path to digital DMR radios that deliver improved audio...