International Architecture Awards Tell a friend
Lead Architect: Laurinda Spear Design Team: John 'Ben' Hutchens
General Contractor: Moss & Associates
Client: University of Miami
Photographers: Monica Grigorescu and Robin Hill Photography
Lakeside Village at the University of Miami, located in Coral Gables, Florida, is a next-generation housing village strategically designed to improve campus housing offerings for students and enhances campus connectivity, pedestrian circulation, the creation of outdoor living spaces, and the activation of the public realm. The 12.4-acre (50.180sm) village, completed in August 2020, is comprised of 25 interconnected buildings that rise above ground level to integrate the ground floor into the network of outdoor spaces, connected by a grid of pedestrian walkways, and integrate South Florida’s natural environment.
The Lakeside Village represents a major step forward toward building an on-campus housing complex that focuses on the students and staff experience with a design intent to build a more resilient and sustainable environment. What used to be two surface parking lots, were transformed into a parklike setting that knit the campus together rather than separating it with a massive student housing facility. By lifting a collection of 25 low-lying units above grade on stilt pilings, to architecturally create a village, while allowing the campus to continue its flow underneath.
An overarching effort was made to blend environments. Most of the interiors seamlessly transition from indoor to outdoor spaces through tropical landscapes that integrate South Florida’s natural environment and contribute to the University’s own sense of community. While major programming, such as exhibition, recreation, retail, welcome, and study centers maintain an amoeba-like footprint at the ground level, the housing units are connected by landscaped walkways and elevated gardens.
The design eliminates vehicular traffic in exchange for pedestrian-centric major and secondary walkways connecting key nodes and buildings through the landscape. Lakeside Village fronts Lake Osceola (the core and heart of the Gables Campus) and is filled with a lush and native tropical garden. The unique array of interconnected buildings and gathering spaces - sleek, geometric volumes seven stories tall, interlaced by lush gardens and topped with flowering perennials that peek over the building’s sloped green roofs.
The project is a bold experiment in low-impact development in part because of the threat that climate change and sea level rise pose, which made it a much more involved multi-disciplinary design process to design and build a highly functional and resilient complex that houses learning spaces of various types within the common areas of the environment to create collaborative shared living and learning environments. Special consideration was given to communal spaces that provide varying degrees of social, learning, and activity programming potential and that will activate the ground level.
Over 100 trees were harvested from the site before construction began and replanted at on-site nurseries surrounding the site which contributed to more than 6.875 m2 of the relocated tree canopy, which is equal to 1.5 American football fields. The project includes 25 extensive green roofs encompassing 5,575 m2 that act as heat and light sponges as well as systems that capture rainwater that feed into the rain gardens on site.
These gardens, together with those on the second-level terraces and ground level, provide a range of sustainable qualities. Integrated rain gardens provide a habitat for native plants and wildlife, harvesting rainwater from the green roofs. The limestone boulders placed throughout the grounds came from the site. These boulders came from the excavation of the building’s foundations. A plan is envisioned from the start while studying the site and understanding the available resources.