UF College of Design, Construction & Planning

Looking Out For Gator Nation - Published on May 20, 2019

If you happened to be walking in the Architecture Atrium during the end of the spring semester, chances are you encountered a mysterious structure under construction. This project was completed, and then moved over to the Plaza of the Americas.

The group behind the entire project was FLoAT, the Florida League of Architectural Things, and the structure they built was a mental health pavilion.

“Mental Health can easily be swept under the rug and unattended,” Tristan Ahlquist from FLoAT stated. “This is clearly seen on most university campuses, where students forget to maintain positive mental well-being in the face of group projects, studying for exams, and writing papers, that tuck such awareness away.”

The group partnered with U Matter, We Care, a University of Florida initiative focused on health, safety and holistic well-being of all Gator students.

“Through close collaboration, we created a design that encourages student interaction facilitated by interstitial spaces,” Ahlquist said. “Two-way traffic within the tight pavilion forms moments of excitement and togetherness in the midst of final exams, research papers and curriculum reviews.”

This structure, which could not have been done without support from Lowes on 13th Street, the Frost Family and Walker Architects, provided a welcome respite to students who came upon it in the Plaza of the Americas.

“The execution of this project was all in an effort to show our Gator Nation that approaching mental health begins with each other,” Ahlquist explained.