The School of Architecture series emphasizes curriculum and research


Informal lounge gatherings are held on Thursdays throughout February in the schoolyard to showcase graduate programs and the research of faculty members and students. Sessions are open to the entire University of Miami community.

How is Miami-Dade County prioritizing the need for resilient projects across the county?

How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the real estate market in South Florida?

What types of building materials can be used to withstand the ravages of climate change?

All of these issues concern students at the University of Miami School of Architecture and many other members of the university community. This is one of the reasons the school has launched a series of gatherings to highlight its graduate programs as well as research conducted by faculty and students.

These lounges, the brainchild of Sonia Chao, Associate Professor of Research and Associate Dean of Research, provide an informal meeting place to exchange ideas and network.

“This is an opportunity to come together as a community to discuss issues that we know are relevant not only to our profession, but to all those with whom we engage across disciplines and in our region and to highlight highlights interdisciplinary investigations and actions,” Chao mentioned. “These are opportunities to celebrate ongoing research efforts as we reconnect or reconnect with our peers, students, alumni, and community.”

The fairs are held outdoors in the school yard every Thursday in February, beginning with a reception at 6:00 p.m. Gatherings are open to the University community and the public.

The first show, held Feb. 3, was hosted by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, director of the master’s program in urban design, the school’s oldest graduate program. Many of the participants were professors who had taught in the program.

“I hope that students will gain a new understanding of the field, how it ranges from large-scale planning to the detail of architecture, and that the specifics of urban design – buildings and public spaces – can have a powerful influence on the social and environmental concerns,” Plater-Zyberk said.

Faculty members teaching urban design include a significant number of researchers and scholars whose publications are renowned, she said, and librarian Gilda Santana had set up a table to display many of them during of the event last week.

This week, Armando Montero, director of the construction management program, will lead a conference “What is the future of architects in construction? » session. It will highlight the program’s work with contributions from a panel that includes five of its faculty members, a local government representative, and practicing professionals, including Peckar & Abramson partner Stefan Chin and Jane Decker, City Manager of Doral’s building department. The School of Architecture’s new graduate program director, Joel Lamere, will also be part of the roundtable.

Chao, who is also co-director of the new interdisciplinary Master of Professional Science (MPS) program in Urban Sustainability and Resilience, hosted a panel for Feb. 17. “What does building resilience entail?” will be addressed. Chao invited MPS students to moderate the session, as well as several community members who have worked with her on research projects and who co-teach with her. These include architect Jaqueline Touzet of Touzet Studio and Katherine Hagemann, Resilience Program Manager for Adaptation at the Miami-Dade County Office of Resilience. Tim Norris of the Institute for Data Science and Computing and Professor Louis Herns Marcelin, MPS Director of Global Health Studies, will complete the panel.

There will be a small exhibit highlighting the students’ initial research in the county’s Little River Adaptation Action Area, where the county is trying to limit sea level rise in one of the Miami’s most vulnerable, prone to flooding.

Students in the Urban Sustainability and Resilience program also work with Norris, a data scientist at university libraries. He guides them and facilitates their use of an app that Chao edited to collect data on buildings and towns, which in turn informs his research on the vulnerability of the terrain in the Little River region, as part of its new U-LINK grant.

The final show of the month, “How has COVID-19 impacted South Florida real estate and what does its future hold in the age of the pandemic?” will take place on February 24. It will be co-organized by Chuck Bohl, professor and director of the graduate program in real estate development and urban planning and Mark Troen, lecturer in the same program, and will highlight student research.

Two other initiatives were created by Chao to increase awareness of the research and creative work carried out at the school as well as to foster their growth. An internal monthly newsletter was launched in September, providing School of Architecture faculty members and students with links to research, articles, competitions, workshops, and grant opportunities.

In the coming months, a new online portal will be available on the School of Architecture website, and it will highlight and make more easily accessible faculty research, peer-reviewed publications, exhibitions and creative work.


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