Masters of Architecture
New York, NY

Design Studio 9 | Spring 2018

Faculty: Marielis Nepomechie


In an effort to achieve a carbon neutral building, SERC (an on campus organization dedicated to Everglades research) approached the school of architecture for ideas on a new headquarters at Florida International University. The site in which it was to be located rested on a large empty piece of land on one edge of the university campus. This placed the building in a prime location to be viewed by passing cars on the nearby highway, calling for the building to be a landmark of the university. The project also was to respond to sea level rise, accounting for water levels expected over the next 100 years.


Due to the year round warmth and high solar radiation in South Florida, Many steps needed to be taken to ensure maximum sustainability for the project. These included a maximizing the North and South facade lengths while shading the South. Large expanses of glass to the North allows for diffused natural light to filter throughout the building. Accordion style glass doors and multiple interior courtyards open the building up completely to cross ventilation, while inhabitable green roofs and terraces insulate the building and provide people with exterior spaces to congregate. Solar panels on the roof generate the majority of the electricity needed to power the buildings systems, while an artificial wetland cools the ambient air around it. By elevating the buildings main programmatic spaces while keeping boat parking on the ground level, the project remains functional despite the predicted sea level rise through 2100.


The 4 story project features interior parking for 26 boats and trucks, an auditorium, gallery space, 2 loading bays, boat wash and repair garages, classrooms, a cafe and storage spaces. A large driveway in the back allows for a truck with a boat on a trailer to back a boat into the garage, unhitch it, and then proceed to the truck parking on a higher level.