Warped concrete roof tops Miami architecture school by Arquitectonica

A massive, curved concrete slab covers the new building of the architecture school at the University of Miami of the local company Arquitectonica.

University of Miami Architecture School of ArquitectonicaFocus on photo of Miami

The Thomas P Murphy Design Studio building is the newest addition to the University of Miami campus in Coral Gables, Florida – southeast of downtown Miami.

University of Miami Architecture School of Arquitectonica

Arquitectonica designed the 1,858 square meter building for the institution’s architecture school. It is dedicated to Thomas P. Murphy Sr., the father of the founder of Coastal Construction – the local construction company that built the project.

University of Miami Architecture School of Arquitectonica

The project was personal to Arquitectonica too: the project partner in charge, Raymond Fort, served as a faculty at the University of Miami, as did his parents – the company’s founding directors – Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Laurinda Spear.

University of Miami Architecture School of Arquitectonica

The Thomas P Murphy building is crowned with a bow roof that hovers undulating over the project and extends far out to form a covered terrace next to floor-to-ceiling windows.

University of Miami Architecture School of ArquitectonicaFocus on photo of Miami

“The building is essentially a single, oversized shed with a vaulted roof suspended from narrow steel pillars and some solid walls 5.5 meters above the ground,” says a project description.

“The exposed structure of glass and concrete serves as a teaching tool by illustrating some of the basic principles of modern architecture, construction and sustainability.”

University of Miami Architecture School of Arquitectonica

The building sits on a lawned lot and forms a spot at a prominent intersection on campus with a path that connects to the Miami Metrorail.

University of Miami Architecture School of Arquitectonica

Inside, a concrete shell forms a lobby with a spacious open area for students that takes up most of the floor plan. Red fabric curtains can close off a section to create a more intimate area.

A studio space is formed by a 7.6 m (25 foot) square module that can accommodate a variety of desk configurations ranging from 90 to 130 workstations.

“It complements the school’s constellation of buildings that form a campus within the campus,” said Rodolphe el-Khoury, dean of architecture at the University of Miami.

The east and west walls are lined with felt so students can nail their projects down, while a nave contains movable panels for exhibitions and reviews.

University of Miami Architecture School of Arquitectonica

In addition to its durable concrete shell, the Thomas P Murphy building is also designed for the hot and humid climate in Miami. The glass facade contains hurricane-resistant panels.

University of Miami Architecture School of ArquitectonicaFocus on photo of Miami

The undulating roof warps over the southernmost point of the building to protect the interior from direct sunlight. No artificial light is required inside during the day.

Arquitectonica’s other projects in his hometown of Miami include a residential tower with a crumpled facade on pilotis in the Edgewater district.

The photograph is by Robin Hill unless otherwise noted.

Arquitectonica is creating a water tower with a sculptural facade in Miami

Project Loans:

Responsible partner for design: Bernardo Fort Brescia, Laurinda Speer
Architect of the recording and project manager: Sherri Gutierrez
Project manager: Rafael Guissarri
Project designer: Raymond Fort
Landscape architect: Arquitectonica Geo
Interior designers: Arquitectonica Interiors, University of Miami Interior Design, University Architect’s Office
Structural engineering: WYD
Acoustics: Shen Milsom & Wilke
Mechanical engineering: Stantec
Civil engineering: VSN
Geotechnics: NV5
Measurement: Atkins
Sustainability: SUMACH
General contractor and site manager: Coastal assembly

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