Design Research and ConceptualizationLearn More >
Sponsored Design Studios
Master Planning and Urban Design
Visualization and FabricationLearn More >
3D Modeling and Animation
Interactive Learning Environment
Large Scale Immersive Visualization
Community Engagement Organizational DevelopmentLearn More >
Professional Development and Training
Creative Services in Visual and Performing ArtsLearn More >
Public Art Works
Film and Digital Media
Design Research and Conceptualization
Sustainability and Resiliency Projects | Sponsored Design Studios | Design Charrettes
Master Planning and Urban Design
Through the unique lens of architecture, journalism, arts, and technology, FIU By Design works with the community to take on challenging Sustainability and Resiliency Projects, particularly important in tropical and sub-tropical environments.
Sponsored Design Studios are ideal for the integration of engaged scholarship and professional services, necessary elements in solving pressing public concerns. In a carefully planned, semester long structured design studio, our faculty work with students and appropriate experts to explore design ideas, examine alternatives, and provide solutions to our clients’ challenges. While addressing the local and broader community needs, faculty align learning objectives with deliverables in projects ranging from small-scale building design to large-scale urban development. Students propose architectural solutions, adaptation strategies and visualization tools to support policy and decision-making, while raising the public’s awareness of crucial issues.
FIU By Design also provides services for organizing and facilitating intensive Design Charrette sessions. These meetings bring together project’s various stakeholders to contribute ideas and provide feedback in a collaborative forum. The charrettes are conducted in one to three days or longer, depending on the scope of the project and the requested deliverables.
Another service area includes Master Planning and Urban Design. We leverage the expertise of our faculty from the Departments of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Environmental + Urban Design to engage in urban development and visionary large-scale projects.
Virginia Key Beach Park Resiliency Plan
Location: 4020 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, FL 33149
Faculty: Marilys Nepomechie and Claudio Salazar, Department of Architecture
Tiffany Troxler, Sea Level Solution Center
Project Date: Spring 2016
Historic Virginia Key Beach Park opened in 1945, when segregation prohibited people of color from using the county’s other beaches. It was closed in 1982 by the City of Miami due to high maintenance costs. The public’s interest in reviving the park grew, and in 1999, the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust (VKBT) was appointed. The park was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, and, after restorative work, the park re-opened to all in 2008. However, much remains to be done to finish the restoration of the park and to ensure that as environmental and climate changes affect South Florida’s barrier islands, Historic Virginia Key Beach Park is still an escape to a protected treasure.
A multidisciplinary team of students and faculty from FIU’s Department of Architecture, College of Engineering and Sea Level Rise Solution Center collaborated on a Sponsored Design Studio to conduct research for the development of the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park Master Plan. The semester-long design studio produced several proposals to facilitate dialogue between all stakeholders. In a series of coordinated meetings, members of the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, City of Miami leaders, and park visitors discussed various design proposals. The project outcome was the production of architectural drawings and 3D renderings of various proposals to illustrate visions for the park’s future that met the requirements set forth by VKBPT.
Envisioning Mana Wynwood
Location: Wynwood, Miami, FL
Faculty: Claudia Busch and Alfredo Andia
Department of Architecture
Project Date: 2016
With the dynamic revitalization of Wynwood, the downtown Miami-area neighborhood has moved from an old industrial district and community melting pot to a bustling urban hub filled with artists, galleries, restaurants and name-brand retailers. Mana Wynwood, the architectural vision of the area’s largest landowner, Moishe Mana, is a 30-acre project site comprised of approximately 13 development blocks in the southwest section of Wynwood. Two architecture graduate studios with 30 students working in teams selected a site in one of the blocks to design a building and develop the neighborhood, which will eventually be the site of residential housing, offices, retail shops, hotels, art centers, and convention space that will attract creative types such as artists, entrepreneurs and the technology sector. Projects began with the research of Miami 21 zoning codes and the required regulations for the selected area. Throughout their work, students met with stakeholders to gather information and implement feedback into their projects.
Using drawings and models, students presented their building proposals for the redevelopment of the area. The proposals celebrated the emergence of energy and creativity that has reinvented the area over the past five years and explored design visions for what is destined to become Wynwood’s future core. The work culminated with an exhibit of the projects during Art Basel.
Location: 980 Macarthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132
Faculty: Marilys Nepomechie and Eric Peterson, Department of Architecture
Mark Marine, CARTA, Tiffany Troxler, Sea Level Solution Center; Andrea Adelman and Daniela Foerch
School of Education and Human Development
Project Date: Fall 2016
To educate children and their families on the impact of sea level rise and South Florida’s ecosystem, Miami Children’s Museum wanted to create an interactive water exhibit. They turned to FIU By Design to organize a multidisciplinary design team for a charrette to work on the project.
Held at the museum, the two-week charrette included the museum’s education team and the FIU By Design multi-disciplinary team of students and faculty. The teams were asked to design and produce conceptual drawings and models as a basis for fundraising and for enabling the museum to receive proposal bids from various fabricators.
Each team focused on developing interactive and engaging ways of communicating ideas on the causes, consequences and possible mitigation of South Florida’s environmental challenges. The ideas, architectural drawings, renderings and models developed during this intensive period of collaboration were used to apply for several federal grants to support educational programming. The project has advanced to the next phase for developing a million-dollar design proposal.
Parkland Library Extension
Location: Parkland, FL
Faculty: Glenda Punte, Department of Architecture and Marie Mihalik
Department of Interior Architecture
Project Date: Spring 2016
In 2011, the City of Parkland Library received the “Best Library of the Year” award from the Florida Library Association. Since then, it has operated at full capacity and cannot keep up with the needs of the community. It hosts book clubs for adults, teens and children, offers film discussion and artist-of-the-month receptions, provides tutoring for teens and kids, holds art and writing workshops and more. In a collaborative project with the City of Parkland, FIU By Design investigated the renovation of the existing library. The design objectives included the incorporation of natural light and vegetation, merging interior and exterior spaces and providing secure outdoor spaces for reading and recreation.
Faculty members and students from the Department of Architecture and Interior Architecture worked on transforming the library’s programmatic requirements into multiple design strategies. The preliminary designs focused on creating two distinct schemes for the City of Parkland, providing the basis for further discussions and support of the decision-making process.
TCH Office Renovation
Location: 1001 Brickell Bay Drive, Suite 2100, Miami, FL
Faculty: Katie Rothfield, Department of Interior Architecture and Mark Marine, CARTA
Project Date: 2014
Established in 1989 and owned by the Bank of Montreal, Taplin, Canida, and Habacht (TCH) is an investment firm with a focus on fixed income portfolios and institutional investors. The project involved design and documentation for the renovation of approximately 3,890 square feet in the TCH Miami office. With expansive windows on the 21st floor, the most notable asset of the project was its position, facing sweeping views of Biscayne Bay to the east and city views to the north and south. Project design goals included maximizing natural light and views, developing a more functional floor plan, improving acoustics, increasing the employee capacity and updating the overall aesthetic.
FIU By Deign provided interior design services from programming through design development, including interior space planning, color schemes, furnishing and interior finish selections, working drawings, specifications and project coordination.
Visualization and Fabrication
3D Fabrication | 3D Modeling and Animation | Interactive Learning Environments
Large-Scale Immersive Visualization
Advanced visualization and fabrication technologies have opened a new world of possibilities in the field of architecture and design. FIU By Design supports clients’ projects with sophisticated services for helping our partners communicate their ideas with 3D realistic renderings, 3D digital printed models and immersive visualization. With these services, a wide range of projects in the areas of architectural design, landscape architecture, interior architecture, urban design, art and product development can be supported. Our state-of-the-art facilities include:
- The Robotics and Digital Fabrication Lab, which bridges the gap between the virtual and physical worlds. It includes 3D scanners and printers, laser cutters, robotic arms and programmable objects, providing unique solutions for testing, prototyping, manufacturing and fabrication.
- The Integrated Computer Assisted Virtual Environment (I-CAVE), with five 9×5-foot high-resolution screens and surround sound which provides an immersive virtual reality experience and simulated environment.
- The Fabrication Lab, a full wood workshop with CNC milling capability, a metal shop and concrete lab, able to use diverse materials and scales.
Miami Beach Convention Center Model Production
Location: 1700 Convention Center Drive, Miami, FL 33139
Faculty: Eric Peterson and Julia Sarduy; Department of Architecture
Mark Marine, CARTA
Project Date: Fall 2015
When a client wants to highlight intricate details and unique elements of a proposed building, a presentation model is called for. FIU By Design was contracted by the City of Miami Beach to construct a model for presentation of the newly proposed $615 million expansion and renovation of the Miami Beach Convention Center, designed by Fentress Architects in collaboration with Arquitectonica and Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8.
A team of FIU Architecture faculty, Fabrication Lab staff and research assistants worked together to develop a digital model of the 600,000-square-foot project using 3D modeling software. The team 3D printed the building components and used laser cutters and traditional model-making techniques. The model included LED lights to highlight facade details, trees, pedestrians and other contextual features that helped communicate the scale of the proposed building. The model was delivered for a special unveiling event held by the City of Miami Beach and attended by Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Proceeds from the project were used to help support ongoing research in the Fabrication Lab.
Betsy Hotel Model Production
Location: 1440 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139
Faculty: Eric Peterson and Julia Sarduy; Department of Architecture and
Mark Marine, CARTA
Project Date: 2015
The Betsy Hotel was named to Forbes Travel Guide’s list of “The 15 Most Anticipated Hotel Renovations of 2016.” To live up to expectations, the hotel asked FIU By Design to construct a presentation model of the expansion and renovation project. The iconic South Beach hotel was originally designed as two separate hotel buildings in 1937 and 1941 by architects L. Murray Dixon and Henry Hohauser. The office of Alan Shulman, Shulman + Associates, served as the preservation architect and the architect of record for the renovation and expansion, which included taking over the Carlton Hotel next door, adding an Art Deco Wing, restaurants, rooftop pool complex, library, event space and guest rooms.
A team of FIU Architecture faculty, staff and research assistants worked to develop a digital model of the project using 3D modeling software. Using 3D printers, the team produced several of the complex building components and used laser cutters and traditional techniques to build the model. It is currently displayed in the lobby of the hotel and is used for marketing purposes. Proceeds from the project were used to help support ongoing research in the Fabrication Lab.
Communication Engagement and Organizational Development
Professional Development and Training | Community Engagement | Leadership Workshops | Speech Coaching
FIU By Design conducts a range of educational, coaching, training, and outreach projects. These include formal training sessions, seminars, and communication workshops in a broad range of areas. In addition, the Bold Agency at the School of Communication + Journalism offers a variety of services for clients looking to expand their brand, craft social media, create communication strategies, and produce creative advertising. The student-run, faculty-supervised agency also conducts market research and guides clients through crisis planning.
DPD Youth Dialogues
Location: Miami-Dade County
Faculty: Antoine Hardy, Gabriela Portela and Joann Brown
Department of Communication
Project Date: 2016
The relationship between police officers and youth is often fraught with tension. As violent police encounters played out more regularly in the last few years on media across the country, the mistrust and miscommunication between the groups seemed to grow. The Police-Youth Community Dialogues Program was initiated to promote a shared understanding of the community’s issues between Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) officers and area youth. The program was built on the belief that effective policing and maintaining of public safety requires community members to provide information about crime in their neighborhoods.
As a result, the purpose of this crime prevention training program was to raise awareness of the issues and to build trust between the police and community members. Although MDPD has a long history of relationship-building through crime prevention programs and community policing efforts, the additional training created yet another way to create a bond between the groups and strengthen their connection. The dialogues took place in a relaxed, neutral setting, in four distinct phases:
Phase 1 – Orientation session, cultural awareness and sensitivity training
Phase 2 – Who are we? Finding common ground, establishing rapport and identifying key issues
Phase 3 – Contemporary issues on the beat
Phase 4 – Diagnosing the problem and finding solutions
The positive outcomes of the program have led to continued dialogues and meetings in other communities.
Little Havana Community Meetings
Location: Little Havana, Miami, FL
Faculty: Mark Marine, CARTA and Ralph Rosado, Rosado and Associates
Project Date: 2017
Affordable housing for seniors and the disabled is a nationwide problem, and Miami is no exception. Plans are in the works to redevelop the Little Havana Senior Campus. The project includes multiple buildings, some constructed in the 1970s that need complete renovation or rebuilding. FIU By Design was selected to host a series of community events for the proposed development of the Little Havana Senior Campus. The job required coordination of a series of meetings among Resident Council Governing Boards, the City of Miami Police Department, Miami-Dade County Public Housing and Community Development, the Related Group, community members and key stakeholders from the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County. These meetings were divided into four ‘presentation sessions’ that covered specific topics for the proposed redevelopment, one ‘pen-to-paper’ charrette, and one wrap-up session.
To conduct the project, students and faculty worked directly with all stakeholders to gather the community’s input on key aspects of the project including: housing needs, exterior space requirements, public safety, community services, economic development, historic preservation and art in public spaces. These sessions focused on gathering information about the types of services and quality of life the community desires, as well as polling them about possible new usage, such as mixed-income or mixed-age housing.
The pen-to-paper session included a Visual Preference Survey, in which residents and community members were guided to Grouping Stations to indicate their likes and dislikes. This allowed stakeholders to build consensus about amenities and ideas for the proposed project. The sessions concluded with community members and residents sketching and labeling their desires on the Campus site plan ― an effort which was guided by FIU facilitators.
Mayor’s Institute on City Design Forum
Location: Florida International University Miami Beach Urban Studios
Faculty: Marilys Nepomechie and Mark Marine Project Date: 2016
Mayors’ Institute on City Design [MICD] is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the American Architectural Foundation and the United States Conference of Mayors. In 2016, through a competitive national application process, FIU College of Communication, Architecture + The Arts was selected to co-host the session with the City of Miami Beach.
Since 1986, MICD has helped transform communities by giving mayors tools that will assist them in serving as the chief urban designers of their cities. MICD selects and partners with academic institutions from across the United States to organize six meeting sessions each year. During the sessions, mayors engage with leading design experts to discuss and seek solutions to some of the most critical urban design challenges facing their cities. Sessions are organized around “case study” problems. Each mayor presents a problem from his or her city and works with other mayors and the participating design experts in responding to the case study.
FIU By Design work included organization of the entire event in Miami, recruitment of the participating mayors and travel to each participating city to aid in the selection of a case study. Mayors from cities in Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, North Carolina and Florida participated. FIU By Design collaborated with MICD in identifying a team of preeminent design professionals to act as moderators, and the team also prepared a post-event summary report and case study briefing book.
Liberty City Community Meetings Location: Liberty City
Faculty: Marilys Nepomechie, Department of Architecture
Mark Marine, CARTA
Project Date: 2016
Miami’s Liberty Square was the first segregated public housing in U.S. history, built in 1937. In 2015, it was announced that the housing project would be razed, and in its place, a $307 million redevelopment project with more than 1,500 new housing units would be built. FIU By Design helped coordinate and co-host a series of Liberty Square community and stakeholder meetings that included community members, local law enforcement, the Liberty Square Resident Council and key personnel from the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County. The groups gathered to discuss various aspects for revitalization of the Historic Liberty Square, and FIU faculty and students compiled input on housing, exterior spaces, public safety, community services, economic development, historic preservation and art for public spaces.
In addition, throughout the seven community meetings, FIU students and faculty collected information about the community’s concerns and interests for redevelopment, as well as the services they would like. Feedback was directed to the developers to help them gain better insight into the community’s desires for the proposed project.
Creative Services in Visual and Performing Arts
Public Art Works | Music Performances | Theater Performances | Film and Digital Media
As a global city, Miami is home to many talented visual and performing artists. FIU By Design provides creative services for public and private events and projects that demand the expertise of one or more of our students and/or faculty from our visual and performing arts disciplines. We have a wide range of highly-skilled artists, musicians, and scholars who are nationally and internationally recognized performers, set designers, graphic designers, actors, and artists. They are as diverse and multicultural as our community. Our services range from multi-performance contracts to specific individual projects.
Liberty City Community Mural
Location: Liberty City, Miami, FL
Faculty: Jacek Kolasinski
Project Date: 2015
When Liberty City searched for projects that would bring the community together, it found a drab 40-foot wall ripe for attention and contacted FIU By Design to create a Public Art Mural. Mural projects have historically been used as a vehicle for education and cultural expression, but this project had an added element ― to unify area residents. In a series of meetings, the community decided on a “Tree of Life” mural as a vibrant metaphor for the promise of a strong community and the resilience of its residents.
The initial phase of the project was to create the painting on the wall. Five weeks later, children, residents, community leaders and FIU students and faculty gathered to complete the work. Using stencils and stamps created by FIU’s fine arts students, children from Liberty City, FIU volunteers and students from Miami Northwestern Senior High completed the mural.
City of Sunny Isles Beach Jazz Concert
Location: Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Faculty: Mark Marine, CARTA
Project Date: 2017
Launched in 2010, the Four Seasons Cultural Series is a program offered by the City of Sunny Isles Beach to make the classical arts accessible to all ages. For the kick-off of the 2014 season, the city contracted with FIU By Design to bring the School of Music’s Jazz Big Band to Heritage Park. The 19-piece studio jazz band, as well as faculty members, captured the essence of the Big Band era, playing jazz standards to contemporary tunes. The concert repertoire included interpretations of songwriters from the Great American Songbook.