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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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Coastal Construction Funds Design Studio Building for School of Architecture

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Coastal Construction Funds Design Studio Building for School of Architecture

The Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building is being designed by Miami's world-renowned architecture firm Arquitectonica.

The Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building is being designed by Miami’s world-renowned architecture firm Arquitectonica.

By Annette Gallagher
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 23, 2015) – Coastal Construction, a major builder in South Florida, has pledged $3.5 million to construct a state-of-the-art design studio building at the University of Miami School of Architecture. The gift will support Momentum2: The Breakthrough Campaign for the University of Miami.

Tom Murphy Jr., president and CEO of Coastal Construction, is passionate about supporting education in architecture and, in fact, got his start while a UM student, working on fraternity houses.

“My family has been building in Florida for over 60 years,” Murphy said. “Learning to design buildings using the latest technology in a collaborative environment is critical to being able to create cities and communities that will last. My family is proud to be able to provide this facility for UM students to learn to build, to create, and to work together.”

The Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building will be LEED-certified and include studios to accommodate about 120 students. A fabrication lab and modern workstations, designed to enable advanced digital production, will be included as well. A lounge, computer lab, presentation areas, review spaces, and offices are additional amenities. The building is being designed by world-renowned Miami architecture firm Arquitectonica, by a design team led by School of Architecture adjunct faculty member Raymond Fort and Arquitectonica principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia, who moved to Miami in 1975 to teach at the School of Architecture. The facility will occupy about 20,000 square feet, including outdoor workspace and an outdoor jury area, when completed.

“We are determined to provide our students with state-of-the-art facilities that sustain our traditions and enable innovation,” said Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of the UM School of Architecture. “I can’t think of a better learning and working environment than the Studio Building—elegantly designed and masterfully engineered to house a field of activities under one sweeping roof —where our talented students can collectively immerse themselves in our studio culture. We are grateful to Tom Murphy and Coastal Construction for enabling us to take that culture to the next level.”


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Leading Architect to Discuss Neoclassical Architecture in Greece February 9

GreekLectureMichael Lykoudis, the Francis and Kathleen Rooney Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss “Neoclassical Architecture in Greece: Architecture and Urbanism in an Age of Political Turmoil and Economic Austerity,” at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, February 9, at the School of Architecture’s Jewell and Stanley Glasgow Hall.

Part of the School of Architecture’s SoA Currents series, which provides a forum for the diversity of voices and interests in the field, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Lykoudis, a professor of architecture at Notre Dame since 1991, has devoted his career to the building, study, and promotion of traditional architecture and urbanism, and is a national and international leader in linking architectural tradition and classicism to urbanism and environmental issues.

He will discuss how a new Greek national identity was created during the 19th and early 20th centuries, with aspirations of modernity and prosperity in a period of great economic austerity and political turmoil. The architectural unity that evolved was a profound lesson in place-making for the world as a whole, but especially for Greece, a new country whose citizens had just emerged from four centuries of cohabitation with the Ottoman Empire.

This unity was created by two forces: one top-down from the newly formed government of Greece that included a young king from Bavaria and a Danish, German, and French architectural entourage. They brought a reinvented neoclassical ideal to its birthplace. The other was bottom-up force, generated mostly by builders and developers self-taught or trained in technical vocational schools. The result was the building of beautiful cities with an architectural and urban unity that redefined Greek culture and its entry into the modern world.




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UM Architects Win ‘Best of the Best’ in City Redevelopment

UM News

Lauderdale-by-the-SeaThe School of Architecture’s Jaime Correa and Steven Fett were awarded the Florida Redevelopment Association’s (FRA) 2014 President’s Award for their collaborative redesign of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea’s main street. As FRA President Jeremy Earle noted, “it is a stark contrast to what was there before” and has had a “profound” impact on the local community and economy.

“By redesigning the public realm, the project addressed drainage problems, added new plazas that mimicked sand dunes, created brick paver promenades and reconfigured parking areas,” Earle wrote in explaining his selection of Lauderdale-by-the-Sea’s Commercial Boulevard Streetscape Improvement Program as the “Best of the Best” in the FRA’s 2014 Best Book.

“In addition to all of this,” Earle continued, “the town was able to incorporate an extensive public art program in the project, and include sustainability features and materials such as using locally sourced recycled construction products and materials, new LED light fixtures, new street furniture made of recycled wood or plastic, and native drought-tolerant landscape plantings.”

As a result, Earle said, pedestrian traffic has increased upward of 60 percent, businesses are reporting significant increases in sales, property values are increasing, and the hospitality industry is seeing increased private sector interest and investment.

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