Special to UM News
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 19, 2017—The Frost School of Music at the University of Miami has received platinum LEED certification for the Patricia Louis Frost Music classroom/studios complex on the Coral Gables campus, making the buildings the first in Coral Gables to receive the highest level of LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification.
The buildings were designed to provide more than 770 Frost School music students and 125 faculty an upscale, state-of-the art space for teaching, learning, performing, and recording–but one that would use resources efficiently, and produce fewer greenhouse gases. The lighting, power and comfort systems alone are designed to save over 50 percent in energy. Other green features include:
- Electrochromic windows control daylight and reduce glare and solar heat gain
- Rooftop rainfall is captured in on‐site cisterns for graywater uses inside buildings.
- Rooftop photovoltaic solar power.
- Landscaping irrigation system was designed to reduce water use
- Indoor fixtures and fittings
- High usage of regional materials and recycled materials
“The Patricia Louise Frost Studios have transformed the life and culture of the Frost School of Music,” said Dean Shelly Berg. “The 80+ spaces are the best possible environment for music teaching, learning, and collaboration. We are thrilled that this facility leads the way in sustainability.”
The 41,000‐square-foot facility project features two sleek buildings with a reception center and a furnished breezeway terrace. It adds a new grand entrance, highlighted by prominent structures, to act as a gateway and define the edge of the Frost School of Music campus. The buildings sport two extra‐large rehearsal halls plus 77 spacious chamber music and teaching studios. Designed with careful attention to acoustical requirements, each room is a “floating box” within a box; no two rooms share walls, floors or ceilings. This structural independence creates an acoustical isolation, allowing students to learn, practice, perform, and record without interference from other artists practicing in the next room.
Yann Weymouth, the project design director formerly with HOK Architects, said the architectural team used every strategy and cutting-edge tool at its disposal to maximize efficiency, minimize energy and optimize comfort. As he noted, spaces are filled with glare-free natural light to easily read musical scores, using electrochromic glass windows which dim automatically in direct sunlight to cut solar heat load—a first-use in the Southeast. Artificial lighting is from efficient LEDs, which only turn on when light falls below a preset level. The extremely efficient chilled-beam air-conditioning significantly economizes further electricity. The innovative exterior white precast titanium dioxide concrete skin resists mold and catalytically neutralizes outside airborne pollutants. Finally, modern rooftop photovoltaic panels harvest solar energy.
“We set out to help Frost School of Music create the very best possible teaching, practice and learning environment for students and faculty,” Weymouth said. “It was a marvelous experience to have been part of the project, and it is profoundly gratifying that the Patricia Louis Frost Studios received this recognition, setting a leading example of sustainable architecture.”
Coral Gables City Commissioner Vince Lago, a leader in sustainable practices in local government, thanked the Frost School and the University for its leadership in recognizing the importance of environmentally friendly initiatives and for their ongoing commitment to partner with the city in bettering the community. “These new LEED Platinum buildings set the standard for new construction that teaches us—beyond the classrooms—how to create a more resilient Coral Gables,” Lago said.
In 2016, the Coral Gables City Commission passed a Green Building Ordinance to encourage sustainable and construction best practices, and next week, on Thursday April 27, the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce will bestow its Green Means Green Award for a green building on the Frost School studios.