University of Miami Student Housing
A village-like atmosphere centered on new student housing provides a collegial experience and home away from home within a large campus.
Facing aging student housing at their Coral Gables campus, the University of Miami saw the need to create a residential community that would distinguish the university on a national and international level.
With a large, dispersed campus, this student housing project was an opportunity to create a social hub—accommodation mixed with services, such as cafes, to bring activity, vibrancy, a feeling of “home” and community to the area. By experiencing the site—walking around, studying it, and speaking with staff, students, and visitors—we look for what’s missing and what can be done better. We assess its strengths and weaknesses, character, and context, then propose urban design and architecture that celebrates and augments the existing.
Our design proposes a village model, breaking down the scale to make the site feel more comfortable and welcoming, inserting flexible spaces that allow people to congregate and to enjoy the climate and outdoor living. We “sampled” elements from the existing Brutalist architecture, such as brises soleil for sun shading and open-air common areas. We added a social center to the project, clustering buildings and connecting bridges to give the impression of separate forms that are functionally joined up.
While catering to the university’s aspirations and future learning pedagogies, we have created a new identity for the campus that reads “Miami,” with its vibrant international culture, climate, and lush tropical landscape. Through dedicated place-making, we engender a sense of belonging.