Tag Archive | "school of architecture"


Help Shape the Future of the US 1-Red Road-Sunset Corridor

Join city of Coral Gables officials, staff, and guest speakers for a visioning workshop on the US 1-Red Road-Sunset Corridor Friday, July 17 and Saturday July 18 that will include discussions about the Underline and feature keynote addresses by the School of Architecture’s Charles Bohl, director of the Graduate Program in Real Estate Development and Urbanism, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor of Architecture and director of the Master of Urban Design Program.

View the event page and agenda for more information and RSVP at Planning@coralgables.com or 305-460-5211.

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Students Awarded Scholarships from The Villagers


Students Awarded Scholarships from The Villagers

Three University of Miami School of Architecture students–senior Daniel Clavijo, junior Jessica Stefanick, and sophomore Hitomi Maeno—have been awarded scholarships by The Villagers, a local group dedicated to restoration and preservation in the Greater Miami area.

Clavijo, a graduating senior who is receiving the award for the second time, said he was very grateful. “Preservation is important to me because we should leave nature, and the built environment, in a better state than we found it,” he said. Clavijo and Maeno each received a $4,000 scholarship and Stefanick received $3,000.

The Villagers recently awarded more than $20,000 for college scholarships to deserving students in Miami-Dade County with an interest in architectural historic preservation and restoration. Seven students were selected from the field of applicants based on scholastic standing, recommendations, and samples of their work as well as a statement of interest in preserving architectural past.

The Villagers, Inc., is a local non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration and preservation of historic sites in Greater Miami. The association originated with the efforts of a group of citizens who came together in 1966 to work to save the Douglas Entrance, one of George Merrick’s original public projects in Coral Gables. The Villagers has supported the University of Miami School of Architecture since 1985 and, to date, has given more than $142,100 to UM students.

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UM Showcases Innovations at eMerge Americas Conference

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UM Showcases Innovations at eMerge Americas Conference

By Andres Tamayo
UM News


As conferees learned, the arms of the Da Vinci Xi robot can pick up small objects–and perform precise surgeries.

MIAMI, Fla. (May 5, 2015)—Victor Cruz, a computer engineer with Goverlan, Inc., sat with his head down and eyes focused in a 3-D simulator for the da Vinci Xi surgical robot at the Miami Beach Convention Center last Monday.

Gina Avellan, a representative for the robot, stood to his right, facing a crowd that had gathered to watch one of many simulated surgeries throughout the day. “Now, with your left hand, grab the rubber ring and place it here,” she said as she circled a ring on a raised screen for the group of visitors to see. “Good,” she exclaimed as Cruz impressively completed the task.

The Xi robot, a four-armed behemoth developed to help surgeons perform precise surgeries, is currently being used by UM surgeons and is one of the University’s most prized possessions.

“It’s mind-blowing,” Cruz said as he paused from the excitement of completing his first surgery. “It’s mind-blowing how natural the movements are. I would have never thought that a robot’s motion would be that natural.”

Xi, as it is commonly called, was one of many innovations that UM showcased at the second annual eMerge Americas technology conference May 1-5.

UM also displayed state-of-the-art work being conducted at the School of Architecture, the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and the Center for Computational Science (CCS) with the Office of Civic and Community Engagement. The School of Architecture featured an interactive social media coffee table that attracted tweets and Instagram posts based on certain hashtags embedded in coffee cups.

The Rosenstiel School boasted a fish tank full of mahi-mahi fry while the School of Business Administration showcased entrepreneurship and The Launch Pad, an on-campus accelerator that offers advice to UM students and alumni looking to start their own companies. The Office of Civic and Community Engagement and CCS demonstrated the Miami Affordability Project (MAP)—showing off a drone used for mapping cities in need of new infrastructure—for Julian Castro, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and JPMorgan Chase representatives. Chase is the lead funder of MAP, a free, publicly accessible tool developed by the Office of Civic and Community Engagement to visualize neighborhood-level housing market dynamics and develop data-driven community development strategies.

The conference, which aims to make Miami the technology hub of the Americas, was expected to attract 10,000 local, national, and international visitors over the five days. It is quickly becoming a showcase for businesses, higher education institutions, and others wanting to explain and explore the latest trends occurring in the technology and health sectors.

Various UM officials and faculty spoke during breakout sessions on May 4, including Provost Thomas J. LeBlanc; Architecture Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury; Eugene Anderson, dean of the School of Business Administration; and Norma Kenyon, chief innovation officer at the Miller School of Medicine. They spoke about the challenges Miami faces to attract and keep entrepreneurial talent in South Florida.

“We need to help our students learn to be entrepreneurs, and you can’t do that without creating a culture of entrepreneurship,” LeBlanc said.

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School of Architecture Awarded Knight Grant to Create ‘Third Places’

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 16, 2015)—The School of Architecture has received $650,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for its plan to bring “third places”— community spaces, marketplaces, incubators and training centers—to two underserved Miami neighborhoods.

The Third Place Project will create spaces that provide resources and support to entrepreneurs, creatives, and civic leaders in these neighborhoods, which have not yet been selected, as a way to foster their ideas and break down barriers. The project also will help transform these neighborhoods and create opportunities for local businesses by establishing inexpensive spaces for startups and hubs for arts, culture, and entertainment. The grant supports Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

“A major challenge in the Miami metro area is the disconnect between extraordinarily wealthy neighborhoods and boom areas and long-struggling urban neighborhoods such as Allapatah, Little Haiti, and Opa-locka,” said Charles Bohl, associate professor and the director of the graduate program in Real Estate Development + Urbanism at the School of Architecture. “The Third Place Project is designed to draw on the unique cultures, social capital, and entrepreneurial talent in these neighborhoods and establish focal points – ‘third places’ capable of attracting people to visit these neighborhoods and participate in their local economies.”

“By activating neighborhoods with a high rate of entrepreneurial activity but few resources, we can bridge gaps in Miami’s innovation ecosystem and ensure a constant diversity of ideas,” said Matt Haggman, Knight Foundation program director for Miami. “The Third Place Project will grow and foster the unique character and qualities of these neighborhoods, bringing the ideas of entrepreneurs, artists, and others into the forefront and making Miami more of a place where ideas are built.”

The Third Place Project will combine expertise from the School of Architecture in architecture and placemaking with University of Miami programs in business and social entrepreneurship. Other university departments involved in the Third Place Project include the Center for Urban and Community Design, the Office of Civic and Community Engagement, as well as business startup and support programs at the School of Business Administration. The project also will support weeklong residencies with nationally recognized “civic innovators” who will come to Miami and work with students, faculty, local entrepreneurs, and nonprofits.

The University project team will work with local nonprofits and other interested parties to identify and secure sites that have the best potential to serve as gathering places. Architecture faculty and students will help adapt existing buildings, or create inexpensive, moveable incubator structures—“pop-up” buildings—to house entrepreneurs and vendors. Incubator structures will be arranged to create market places in public spaces or main streets that showcase the mix of art, commerce, food, and entertainment.

Dozens of vendors, artists, and entrepreneurs will receive training and other opportunities through the project. The incubator spaces created by the project will provide inexpensive space for startups in each community, and expand economic opportunities for local nonprofits and local development organizations. The project also will train nonprofit place managers to continue curating, marketing, and managing these places to sustain the project.

“The School of Architecture has a long history of helping to reshape and revitalize the South Florida community,” said Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the School of Architecture. “We are pleased that Knight Foundation has chosen to support this unique project that will have a lasting impact on communities in need of assistance.”

As defined by sociologist Ray Oldenberg, “third places” are the essential, informal public gathering places of great neighborhoods and communities. They are the cafes, taverns, public markets, and main streets where people from all walks of life come together. In poorer, ethnically distinct neighborhoods these places also have provided opportunities for local entrepreneurs to celebrate the unique art, culture, cuisine, crafts, architecture, and commerce of their people. In gateway cities, “third places” such as Little Italy in New York, Chinatown in San Francisco, and Little Havana in Miami, have become destinations for an endless stream of visitors who help foster the local economy.

The Third Place Project is currently evaluating project sites and is slated to begin work during the 2015-2016 academic year.

Support for The Third Place Project forms part of the Knight Foundation’s efforts to invest in Miami’s emerging innovators and entrepreneurs as a tool to build community, while fostering talent and expanding economic opportunity. Over the past two years, Knight has made more than 100 investments in entrepreneurship in South Florida.

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Architecture Students Survey Little Havana on Inaugural U-Serve Day


Architecture Students Survey Little Havana on Inaugural U-Serve Day

By Annette Gallagher
Special to UM News

UServe: East Little Havana 2015MIAMI, Fla. (April 3, 2015)— More than 200 School of Architecture students, faculty, and staff came together on Wednesday, March 25, at Little Havana’s Jose Marti Park for the inaugural U-Serve Day. The participants were able to inventory 439 properties in the neighborhood, encompassing 25 square blocks of territory, using a Geographic Information Systems-based (GIS) smartphone app that was modified by faculty members for this project.

City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado kicked off U-Serve with a lesson to students, giving them some background and history of Little Havana, including that it was once called Riverside.  Regalado also said that Jose Marti Park was not far from the place where Julia Tuttle and Mary Brickell joined forces, from opposite sides of the Miami River, to form the City of Miami in 1896 — the only woman-founded major city in the world. Waves of immigrants since that time have called Little Havana home, Regalado said, which is part of why it is so important to the history and shape of Miami.

Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury also spoke at the kickoff and emphasized the community building aspects of the day of service, as well as the relationship between the SoA and the City of Miami. “Most architecture schools are not involved in their communities. There’s usually no relationship or a contentious one,” el-Khoury said. “The relationship between us and the City of Miami is truly unique, and we are proud of that.”

Once students and faculty were deployed, smartphones in hand, the real work was done. “This was an opportunity for us to underline for students the point that, throughout history, architects have had a role as civic leaders,” said Sonia Chao, director of the Center for Urban and Community Development and part of the SoA Community Engagement Workgroup. “Now, thanks to technology, there are ever more innovative ways that we can continue to engage with communities.”

CUCD assistant director Ricardo Lopez agreed. “The students managed to survey nearly all the buildings in an area of 1/2 mile by 1/2 mile in just one day,” Lopez said. “It is a testament to both the simple design of the app and the students’ ability to interface with new technology.”

Students enjoyed the change in routine and the chance to interact in new ways. “U-Serve is my favorite event in school so far. I loved it and had such a good time,” said third year student Basma Al-Ohaly. “I have friends that never enjoy or participate in academic events but they really liked U-Serve day and didn’t leave until the end of the day. It was an unforgettable experience for us. We enjoyed every second of it.”

Third year graduate student Emma May enjoyed the chance to interact with students she doesn’t see on a regular basis, and that so many faculty and the dean were there, talking to students in a casual environment. Samuel Wyner, another third student, liked that they were applying architecture style and knowledge in a real life scenario, while getting a better understanding of the Miami community and how to contribute to it. Masters of Urban Design student Adam Bonosky thought the app that students used, which was modified by faculty and used GIS technology was a great way to collect data of building elements and capture photography of the buildings.

Just as important as the approximately 800 hours of skilled labor that the School provided to the City, and the data from those efforts, was the chance to build the community of the School of Architecture. Associate professor Richard John said, “I thought U-Serve was a tremendous success and a fantastic bonding opportunity for the School.”

“As we served the community, we strengthened our own,” said el-Khoury. “This is the first U-Serve, and as we plan more of them, we want students involved at every stage of the process, from planning through execution; we want them to truly embrace U-Serve as their project,” said el-Khoury. “If anyone has suggestions or ideas, email them to Annette Gallagher.”

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