Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »
Miami Dade College Campus Center, Miami, Florida, by OPPENHEIM Architecture+Design designed using ArchiCAD
February 21st, 2011 by Susan Smith
The dramatic design set forth for Miami’s LEED certified Miami Dade College Campus Center by Oppenheim Architecture+Design is visually daring and bold; yet upon further introspection, inherently elemental and concise in its organization of the complex programmatic mix. The proposed LEED® certified structure is conceived of as a portal comprised of a base and a top supported by two towers that allow large exterior public spaces at ground and in sky. The project is to serve as a catalyst-exasperating significant enhancement to the campus experience and image through a local revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood.
The project’s mass is sensitively sited to respect its immediate context– establishing a friendly pedestrian experience of plazas, quads, and arcades that provide space for the enjoyment of life. The form, an extruded quadrangle, is carved to maximize openness, flow of activity, and views through the large contoured center. The proposed project is a mix-use building that, in addition to housing the College’s 250,000 SF Center, will include 146,400 SF of two-level street fronting commercial space wrapping the entire base of the building as well as a 41,000 SF open-air campus “Arts Quad” on the third level– that serves as the main distribution level to various programmatic components of College. The project also incorporates a 250,100 SF office component; a 60,000sf meeting facility, a 40,000 SF athletic center, a 798,551 SF residential component with 1,142 small studio, and one-bedroom rental units; and a 300 key, 268,400 SF full service mid-range hotel. The parking garage is proposed to be completely underground, innocuous to the above ground functions. The underground parking structure accommodates 1,700 vehicles in 428,289 SF including the loading/ service zone for a total project area of 2,504,912 SF.
To enhance and support the activity and excitement of the campus “Arts Quad”, pedestrian entrance points are accessible via minimal ground floor lobbies and monumental stairs (and adjacent escalators). These access points lead to the central “Quad”, where the urban fabric and the fabric of the campus are stitched together in a dynamic public space of grand yet humane proportion. Vibrancy at the street level is supported by the proposed Bookstore, House of Blues Restaurant, House of Blues Theater and other significant retail stores that ensure a seamless continuity of street level shops and businesses support a continuous stream of pedestrian interchange. The underground loading/service zone for direct and discrete access limits noise, odors, and interference with non-service related functions.
The Campus Center is fully integrated with the building and serves as the projects heart and soul. Organized around the 3rd level Quad-the various cultural components (Museum, Sculpture Garden and Theater) of the College are fully engaged from this vantage point. A sloping landscaped plan provides a natural auditorium and opportunity for various cultural activities (spontaneous concerts, and nighttime cinema). Additional college program is stacked directly above the quad with large exterior congregational terraces serving to activate the overall collegiate experience. The size and proportions of the two 35-level towers are dictated by the inherent requirements of residential and office typologies above. An Athletic Center and Meeting Facility are located on the 40th Level and unite both the East and West Towers at the top. Above the meeting rooms is the “Sky Quad” (Lobby) that additionally serves all programmatic elements within the complex. Organized around this garden in the sky are 3 levels of Hotel and 2 levels of large residential Penthouses. Located above the Penthouses are the building’s mechanical areas with farms of wind turbines and solar hot water collectors that provide the tri-generation power system and add to the overall sustainability of the project.
The buildings exterior is a pure expression of structure where veins of steel create an elegant exoskeletal system increasing building efficiency while eliminating the need for massive shear walls aside from the core. The skin of the building is an impact resistant, energy efficient glass window-wall system that provides ample daylight and the opportunity to appreciate the natural and manmade beauty.
Chad Oppenheim of OPPENHEIM Architecture+Design’s designs, although not limited to Miami, are mainly concentrated in and around Miami. His influence is being felt most in the Design District and Uptown.