Extending Arquitectonica’s longtime association with the University of Miami School of Architecture (Bernardo Fort-Brescia, Laurinda Spear and their son Raymond Fort have all served on the school’s faculty), the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building cements the firm’s commitment to the University and its hometown through the design of a one-of-a-kind laboratory and collaborative space for the next generation of architects. The new 20,000-square-foot LEED-certified studio building provides a space that supports and furthers the school’s educational pedagogy. The exposed structure of glass and concrete serves as a teaching tool by illustrating some of the basic tenets of modern architecture, construction and sustainability. ` Located at the center of an intersection, the building creates a plaza and adjoining pathway that links the campus to the Miami Metrorail. The building is, in essence, a single, oversized shed, featuring a vaulted roof suspended 18 feet over the floor by narrow steel columns and a few fixed walls. This roof structure provides a sense of openness and enables natural light to permeate the building. A single, curved concrete wall faces the main public transit entrance and the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center, a building designed by architect Leon Krier, that is the heart of the architecture school. This southern wall peels away to be in dialogue with the Krier building’s arched portico and octagonal auditorium. Acting as a symbolic gesture of welcome, the curve invites students to walk up to the building while softening the building’s rectilinear plan.
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