Coral Gables, Florida, USA
Architecturally striking and fully sustainable, the University of Miami Lakeside Village designed by Arquitectonica houses 1,115 students in a series of 25, 7-story, interconnected buildings or pods.
The University of Miami Lakeside Village has been awarded a 2023 International Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.
The placement of the building mass is designed to create spatial variation and definition which serpentines across the site.
At 569,000 square feet, the development provides for a variety of mixed-uses for students and resembles the popular “live, work, play” model trending in commercial developments and creates a “live, learn, play” hub for academic and cultural interaction activities on the 12-acre site.
Lakeside Village includes several interactive classrooms, administrative offices, music rooms, study rooms, and nooks, a wellness and fitness room, a 200-seat multiple-purpose auditorium with retractable seating, a 7,000 square feet exhibition hall, and gallery space, a mail room as well as food and beverage options.
The design eliminates vehicular traffic in exchange for pedestrian-centric major and secondary walkways connecting key nodes and buildings throughout the lush tropical landscape.
The design inspiration was found off the coast in Biscayne Bay in a protected area called Stillsville, where for decades a cluster of houses seems to float on the water on large wooden pilings or pilotis.
For the new student housing, raising the living spaces 25 feet above the ground “on stilts” solved the issue of sustainability related to flooding and security by only allowing secured and controlled access points.
Given the location in a hurricane zone, every aspect of the building and operations must be accountable to the environment.
Elevating the structure, eliminates flooding and creates sheltered areas underneath for public functions and outdoor recreation areas.
The mass of the building is articulated by dividing it into a series of clusters.
This allows the building to introduce natural daylight and views into the interior circulation spaces while also giving the overall scale of the building a community expression as opposed to a singular building.
The facades go further in expanding on this concept of creating a community with three different facade designs.
Each facade uses a distinct material to draw on the natural feel of the site and its integration with the landscape. Wood, metal, and concrete/stucco facades make up the individual pods.
Each type has a unique fenestration design that ties into the modular qualities of each material.
The materials complement the raw and natural feel of the garden creating a sense of visual harmony.
The materials also give the feeling of a residential function within an academic campus. In contrast to the dormitory unit facades, a glass facade encloses common spaces that bridge major axes and allow for vertical circulation and common space to coexist.
Arquitectonica designs for sustainability and resiliency, but it also takes into account health and wellness in its designs.
Designing for wellness helps promote positive outcomes like improved academic performance, sleep, and teaching students about healthy lifestyles.
To help promote movement and activity, two large, monumental staircases, one interior and one exterior, were designed and strategically located in the structure to allow for vertical access between the residential floors.
The desired result is for healthier, better performing, and more resilient students by encouraging students to move more through circulation design within the everyday.
Incorporating methods for vertical circulation is standard for complying with the International WELL Building Institute’s principles for human health and well-being.
With the goal of achieving LEED Gold certification, the rich tropical landscape design plays a significant role in achieving certification due to the eco-friendly designs by ArquitectonicaGEO that include 60,000 square feet of green roofs to reduce solar heat gain and collect rainwater for use in the rain gardens.
Additional points were scored for the temporary re-location of more than 100 plants and trees from the site which were re-planted surrounding the building and contributed to more than 74,000 square feet of tree canopy.
From an aerial view, it is hard to see the building due to the green roofs that act as if imitating the trees.
Master-planned with the university quad concept in mind and with an elevated building that meanders through the landscape, the raised structure creates several courtyards and a network of paths that allows access to the entire site.
The courtyards are more intimate in scale and designed to provide a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor spaces and address more inward activities, such as a multifunction hall, auditorium, and plaza for gatherings.
Other areas are geared towards outdoor recreation and activities and include a couple of sand volleyball courts.
By elevating the building freeing the garden level and allowing 360-degree sight lines, promotes a natural airflow across all areas of the site and takes into account the best practices of the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles, which encourage appropriate passive and active safety approaches while also reinforcing connectivity and community.
The design was lab-tested and modified using thermal comfort modeling to optimize outdoor comfort and breezes throughout the year.
Project: University of Miami Lakeside Village
Landscape Architect: ArquitectonicaGEO
Lead Architect: Alejandro Gonzalez
Design Team: Bernardo Fort-Brescia, Alejandro Gonzalez, Ben Hutchens (Landscape Architect)
General Contractor: Moss & Associates
Client: University of Miami
Photographers: Monica Grigorescu and Robin Hill Photography