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Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Jim W. Henderson Administration and Welcome Center

Gresham, Smith and Partners

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Katie, Gresham, Smith and Partners

Project Name

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Jim W. Henderson Administration and Welcome Center

Project Status



Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


  • : Energy Systems Design, Inc.;
  • Electrical Engineer: Paul Estes;
  • Structural Engineer: José Vargas;
  • Civil Engineer: Parker Mynchenberg & Associates, Inc.;
  • General Contractor: Elkins Constructors, Inc.;

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Project Description

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s new flagship building, the 30,000-square-foot Jim W. Henderson Administration and Welcome Center, is part of a five-year update to the Daytona Beach campus. The client wanted an expressive building that would serve as a gateway to the university and represent the world-class education the school provides.

The building’s soaring, fluid architecture pays homage to the school’s aeronautical curriculum and welcomes prospective students, parents, visitors and donors. It includes a variety of dramatic architectural and engineering features: a cantilevered administrative block, an undulating steel roof, an expansive atrium, a glass curtain wall engineered to resist hurricane- and tornado-force winds as defined by Florida code, and an interior bridge connecting the administrative and hospitality suites.

Surrounding the building, water is an essential element of the landscaping. Reflecting basins were placed to the east and west of the welcome center. The building’s reflections in the basins extend the design further into the site, and the reflected morning and afternoon sun serve to animate the building forms. The project’s interior features simple finishes; concrete, glass, intricately patterned terrazzo flooring and warm dark-espresso wood compliment the exterior’s aesthetic.

The facility was designed with numerous sustainable components including daylighting, high-efficiency mechanical and lighting systems, stormwater management, water conservation and low VOC materials.

The completed facility, which won a 2013 Award of Excellence from AIA Jacksonville, truly stands out from the crowd, making a striking first impression on visitors and serving as a hallmark of the Daytona Beach community.

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