Architecture students present designs for open spaces at MMC

When President Mark B. Rosenberg surveyed the open spaces at Modesto A. Maidique Campus (MMC), he decided to enlist FIU talent to create a sanctuary for the university community.

More than 50 architecture, landscape architecture, and art students joined forces earlier this month to re-imagine four outside areas at MMC in a two-day collaborative session. Their challenge was to create emotionally satisfying and invigorating spaces, as well as establishing a coherent look to the campus.

Students were divided into four teams. Each group was assigned a key campus location: the lawn on the north side of GC; the breezeway in front of the Green Library; the DM theater and courtyard; and the residential housing quad.

The goal of the session, often referred to as a design charrette in the architecture world, was to develop plans that the university could implement. Students took into account safety, accessibility, shade and durability. Affordability was crucial.

“One of the fantastic things about this opportunity is that the projects are intended to become a reality,” said Marilys Nepomechie, professor of architecture, who served as an adviser to students during the design process.

“It’s awesome,” said architecture student Maria del Pilar Alva. “There are so many ideas and so many different ways of working that this integration is helping us understand how other careers work.”

The cross-disciplinary teams presented their designs Sept. 2 to Rosenberg, Vice President of External Relations Sandy Gonzalez-Levy – who spearheaded the project for the university – community leaders, faculty and staff.

“Everyone was impressed with the amount of work [the students] did in a short period of time,” said Architecture Professor Jaime Canaves.

After reviewing the plans, the university decided to further develop and implement three of the designs: DM theater and courtyard; Library breezeway; and the residential quad. Committee members felt it was not the right time to tackle the GC connector.

Students will fine-tune their designs in class for the rest of the semester. Members of the GC connector team will participate in the other projects. Canaves, who is teaching the class, says student will also learn office practices as well. In the real world, he says, architects work on three or four projects at the same time, and they still have to answer the phone and visit job sites.

“We are trying to help create that level of frustration in class,” he adds.

The university leadership hopes to begin developing the students’ ideas in the spring and hold an open space design charrette for Biscayne Bay Campus in the near future.

— Sissi Aguila ’99, MA ’08

DM Theater and Courtyard


Team members:

  1. Jose (Pepe) Mar
  2. Lissette Gonzalez
  3. Michelle Komornik
  4. Marcello Usbeck
  5. Esteban Garces
  6. Meredith Lambert
  7. Luis Jimenez
  8. Tyler Schwartz
  9. Mario Menedez
  10. Deana Sritalapat
  11. Christina Rodriguez
  12. Susanne Schiffer
  13. David Gewurtz
  14. Jose Manuel Alvarez
  15. Camille Nicole Smith

Library Breezeway


Team members:

  1. Peter Hammar
  2. Alexis Cruz
  3. Eduardo Huergo
  4. Anaxor Padron
  5. Luis Castellanos
  6. Carolina Jaimes
  7. Devin Cejas
  8. Peter Coyle
  9. Chelsi Rome
  10. Alvaro Gazo
  11. Luis Sanchez
  12. Alfonso Rodriguez
  13. Valeria Espinosa
  14. Brian Joseph Vazquez
  15. Fannie Torres

Residential Quad


Team members:

  1. Alexandra Trimino-K
  2. Beatriz Chaljub
  3. Jesus Malagon
  4. Manuel Vargas
  5. Andres Pineda
  6. Alejandro Perez
  7. Alba Myers
  8. Daniella Motro
  9. Gayluz Rivera
  10. Andrew Madonna
  11. Carlos Romero
  12. Martina Miachelle Gonzalez
  13. Maria Ines Aragon
  14. Jasbir Singh

GC Connector


Team members:

  1. Ivania Guerrero
  2. Maria Del Pilar Alva
  3. Andrea Gutierrez
  4. Jamie Musgrave
  5. Ricardo Augustin
  6. Sefora Chavarria
  7. Kevin Banogon
  8. Jenna Corsiatto
  9. Jose Fonseca
  10. Manuel Dorticos
  11. Chrissy Perez
  12. Thomas Bryan
  13. Eddie Seymour
  14. Garcia,Christine
  15. Hon-Shen James Wang
  16. Christopher Ricardo Cabezas

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