Tag Archive | "school of architecture"

School of Architecture Nurtures Allapattah’s  ‘Beautiful Little Corner’

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School of Architecture Nurtures Allapattah’s ‘Beautiful Little Corner’

By Robert. C. Jones Jr.
UM News


A mural commissioned by the School of Architecture and the Dominican American National Foundation has transformed a bustling city corner in the heart of Miami’s Allapattah community.

MIAMI, Fla. (July 18, 2014) — When Allapattah residents met with students and faculty from the University of Miami’s School of Architecture for five days last May to hash out a plan for their community’s economic and cultural growth, they came up with ideas such as outdoor kiosks where local entrepreneurs could sell their merchandise and a beautification project to bring more public art to the area.

Now, two months after that charrette, part of the residents’ vision for their Allapattah neighborhood, also known as Little Santo Domingo because of its large Dominican population, has come true with the unveiling of a mural they hope is the first of many more.

Featuring birds and plant life native to the Dominican Republic, the mural wraps around the west and south sides of the Sarraff Store Fixtures and Equipment building on Northwest 17th Avenue and 36th Street, giving residents a taste of outdoor art in a corridor dominated by storefront businesses.

“I wanted to give this community something that reminds people of what we can do to beautify this area,” said Ariel Cruz, the artist commissioned by the School of Architecture and the Miami-based Dominican American National Foundation (DANF) to paint the mural.

“It’s our Beautiful Corner of Allapattah,” said DANF chair Rudy Duthil, referring in English to the mural’s official name of La Bella Esquina de Allapattah.

Chuck Bohl’s voice was barely audible over the roaring cars and trucks that raced through the intersection during the peak of a Friday workday when the mural debuted publicly. But the University of Miami associate professor of architecture didn’t seem to mind. After all, he was there to help show, not tell. The mural, he said, helps solidify the community’s ethnic and cultural identity.

“We were building on the concept of nurturing more of a Main Street environment—more art, more entertainment, more culture—but in an incremental way so that a lot of the little businesses can continue to thrive,” Bohl, director of the School of Architecture’s Masters in Real Estate Development and Urbanism program said of the Allapattah charrette he helped organize two months ago with assistance from UM’s Office of Civic and Community Engagement.

Other ideas that came out of that planning session, including kiosks behind grocery stores, could come later. But the effort will require working with city officials to make sure those ideas become reality, said Bohl.

“We’ve seen other areas catch fire and get the attention of developers,” explained Bohl, “so it can happen very quickly.”


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Rodolphe el-Khoury, Visionary Architect of the ‘Internet of Things,’ Named Dean of the School of Architecture


Rodolphe el-Khoury, Visionary Architect of the ‘Internet of Things,’ Named Dean of the School of Architecture

By Barbara Gutiérrez
UM News

Rodolphe el-Khoury

Rodolphe el-Khoury

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 20, 2014) — A distinguished leader in contemporary architecture and urbanism has been named the new dean of the University of Miami’s School of Architecture. Rodolphe el-Khoury, who currently serves as director of urban design at the University of Toronto’s Daniels Faculty and is a partner in the design firm Khoury Levit Fong, will join the University of Miami on July 1. Read the full story

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Architects Plot New, Safer Population Center for Haiti

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Architects Plot New, Safer Population Center for Haiti

By Maya Bell
UM News


From left, architects Gustavo Sanchez-Hugalde, Sonia Cháo, Max Zabala, and Armando Montero discuss their recommendations for promoting a new population center in Haiti.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 14, 2014)—Convert an old, abandoned railroad track into an eco-trail. Distribute pictorial pamphlets that demonstrate, step-by-step, how to build sturdier concrete-block homes. Control erosion and flash floods by erecting small, simple check dams with sandbags. Partner with a nonprofit to build a vocational training center.

Less than a year after the School of Architecture’s Center for Urban and Community Design (CUCD) was awarded two foundation grants to promote locally led development and civic engagement in Haiti’s Arcahaie region, the blueprint for turning the fertile, coastal area north of the earthquake-ravaged capital of Port-au-Prince into a new population center less vulnerable to earthquakes began to take its final form last week.

For four intense days, a team of architecture professors, alumni, students, and consultants gathered in a design studio at the School of Architecture to plan, create, discuss, and critique the drawings that will illustrate their final short-, mid- and long-term recommendations for connecting Arcahaie’s highland and lowland communities; sowing the seeds of civic life; fortifying flimsy construction; improving and expanding infrastructure, tourism and the economy; and protecting against hurricanes, flash floods, and, yes, even earthquakes.

Though the W.K. Kellogg Foundation is investing in Arcahaie as a potential new sustainable population center because of its distance from major fault lines, it is not invulnerable to temblors or other natural disasters.

“It is the lesser of evils,” said CUCD Director Sonia R. Cháo, the principal investigator on the Kellogg grant and a complementary grant awarded by the Barr Foundation. “But this area is really beautiful and very fertile—it’s known as Haiti’s breadbasket—so there is great potential.”

For Cháo, the real potential lies in Arcahaie’s people, and their eager participation in envisioning their future community. For the past year, those residents have trudged hours and miles to give their input at numerous mini-charrettes and other planning meetings, which Cháo and other members of three grant teams held in different locales across the region.

“They have a resiliency to come out of hardship, and they demonstrate it with a smile, with hope and with a willingness to move forward to create a better day,” Cháo said. “I find that inspiring.”

Among her colleagues’ inspired recommendations: fortifying construction with discards or trash that abounds, like plastics and bamboo fibers, and distributing “easy-build” booklets with step-by-step drawings of the components of a well-built house and how to assemble them correctly.

Miami architect Derrick Smith's concept for an 'easy-build'  kit drawings showing the components of sturdy houses.

Miami architect Derrick Smith’s concept drawings for an ‘easy-build’ kit include the components of a sturdy home.

“In Haiti, a lot of the construction is self-built, so while people use the right materials—concrete block and rebar—it is not put together the right way, which affects the solidity and quality of the structure,” said Miami architect and UM alumnus Derrick Smith, who with UM Professor John Onyango make up the building team, which is exploring short-term solutions. “This is something people can use themselves to change that.”

The seeds for this week’s culminating Haiti Initiative: In-House Technical Charrette, were planted by another intensive design and planning powwow, one that took place within a few months of the devastating January 2010 earthquake that killed thousands of people and left the capital of Port-au-Prince in ruins.

Weeks after the temblor, Haiti’s Ministry of Reconstruction turned to the School of Architecture to develop a blueprint for Haiti’s reconstruction. Three years later, when the Kellogg Foundation came calling with a grant to transform Arcahaie into a new, sustainable population center, Cháo assembled some of the same UM architecture professors, graduates, and consultants who worked on the original reconstruction plan. She knew they had the interest and expertise.

In addition to Smith, they include CUCD research affiliate Gustavo Sanchez-Hugalde and UM alumnus Max Zabala, who with Cháo are on the regional team, looking at long-term solutions; Professor Jaime Correa and part-time faculty Steven Fett and Armando Montero, who are on the town team, looking at mid-scale solutions; Haitian-American architects Jackie Génard, a UM alumna and building systems expert who is assisting the building team, and Boukman Mangones, a typology expert, who is working on the town team; civil engineer Joseph DeLuca, of the Crabtree Group, Inc.; and Laurie Bennett and David Burch, of YouthBuild International, a nonprofit that, to date, has served more than 8,000 students and, with a local partner, constructed seven vocational training centers across Haiti.

“The community is interested in education,” Bennett said, “and with UM as our partner, there is a wonderful opportunity to align vocational training with the regional plan.”

 Maya Bell can be reached at 305-284-7972.


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UM Showcases Technological Wonders at eMerge Americas Techweek Expo and Summit

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UM Showcases Technological Wonders at eMerge Americas Techweek Expo and Summit

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
UM News 

UM's exhibition space inside the Miami Beach Convention Center was

From robots to a patient simulator, UM’s exhibition space inside the Miami Beach Convention Center was a hotspot for all things tech.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 6, 2014) – The kick came just past the midfield line, delivered with all the athletic precision of Pele and Ronaldo. Only this soccer match wasn’t being played by humans, but by robots no more than 2 feet tall.

The mechanical humanoid drones of the University of Miami’s RoboCanes soccer team were a crowd pleaser on the first day of the eMerge Americas Techweek Expo and Summit in Miami Beach, drawing curious onlookers enamored by all things tech. But as sophisticated and entertaining as the robots proved to be, they weren’t the only show in town. Read the full story

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Students Unveil Designs for a GreenLink Park Under Miami’s Metrorail

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

Architecture student Kathryn Flores discusses her vision for a stretch of the M-Path/GreenLink park under the Metrorail.

Architecture student Katherine Flores discusses her vision for a stretch of the M-Path/GreenLink park under the Metrorail.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (May 9, 2014)— An art gallery, a sculpture garden, an elevated park, a soccer field, and plenty of luscious landscapes and bike paths for residents to enjoy. Those are among some of the improvements proposed by a group of University of Miami School of Architecture students for a 10-mile stretch of land underneath Miami’s Metrorail.

The students’ designs, presented to an audience of about 100 community leaders, government officials, and professors last Tuesday at the school’s Korach Gallery, would transform Metrorail’s M-Path corridor, which runs from Dadeland South to the Brickell station, into an ideal area for pedestrians and bicyclists. With the changes would also come a new name—GreenLink—and better connectivity between municipalities such as Miami, South Miami, and Coral Gables. Read the full story

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