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CARTA’s Miami Creative City Initiative-Miami Herald Coverage

The following article on CARTA’s Miami Creative City Initiative was featured in the Miami Herald’s StartingGate online column, their top business blog, on February 12th, and can be read at its original source here.

FIU, Creative Class Group launch Creative City Initiative

FIU and the Creative Class Group, founded by Richard Florida, have joined forces to launch the FIU-Miami Creative City Initiative, a project to harness creative and entrepreneurial forces that can help accelerate greater Miami’s transformation into a creative economy.

The FIU-Miami Creative City Initiative will engage political, business and cultural leaders, faculty, students, alumni and the greater community in a dialogue on how creativity, culture and design can drive a regional economy.

“At FIU we see creativity and the arts as equal partners with technology and entrepreneurship in moving our economy and job creation forward,” said FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg. “The FIU-Miami Creative City Initiative is our way of helping to galvanize these forces in our community so that we create solutions, take full advantage of the opportunities that exist and create new ones.”

The three-year initiative will be based in the College of Architecture + the Arts’ Miami Beach Urban Studios, on Lincoln Road.

This first salon held Jan. 29 and open to the public focused on the topic of creating public spaces that ignite creativity and promote community, often referred to as “place making.” The discussion featured Florida in conversation with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and FIU Department of Landscape Architecture + Environmental and Urban Design Chairperson Roberto Rovira. Florida, Levine and Rovira discussed Miami Beach’s creative future around arts, design, culture, innovation and entrepreneurship and invited ideas on how to further support the revitalization and creative energy around the Miami Beach Convention Center, Lincoln Road and Washington Ave. area. “The key asset to any city is talent,” said Levine. “We are creating an entrepreneurial ecosystem where existing talent will want to stay and work and where new talent will want to launch startups.”

In addition to other salons throughout the year, CCG will conduct research to further understand and define Miami’s creative economy and its impact on the region. The study will examine Greater Miami’s talent base, greatest needs and talent-based advantages.

“Greater Miami is at an inflection point,” said Florida. “Its economy, historically based on tourism and retirement, is shifting to a more robust creative economy, built around its stature as a global city: its ability to attract talent from Latin America, Europe and around the world; its global airport, its natural assets and quality of place; its arts and culture; educational institutions, and the ongoing resurgence of its urban core. These assets will be critical economic drivers for Miami’s future. We are looking forward to partnering with FIU to bring the city some insights.”

FIU Provost and Executive Vice President Kenneth G. Furton noted that this initiative is directly tied to goals in the strategic plans of the College of Architecture + the Arts and FIU.

“Traditionally universities have served as catalysts for the creative economy, helping to create ecosystems where creative talent and enterprises thrive,” said Furton. “We want to use all of our resources, including the talents of students and faculty in the College of Architecture + The Arts, to spur economic development in Miami and beyond.”

-Submitted by Florida International University

Posted Feb. 12, 2015


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CARTA 2013-2014 Performance Report

Dear Colleagues,

In our short but dynamic, 8-year history, 2013-14 was the College’s most successful. This past fiscal year we established new highs in philanthropy ($2,051,446), research funds ($986,509), FSCH (93,329), and ROI (108.6%); achieved top national rankings for the first time for two of our graduate programs, Architecture and Interior Architecture; completed our first-ever 5-yr College work plan, CARTA 2020; published our first Annual Report; developed our first multi-million dollar public-private partnerships (RCCL, JMF, CGPH, and Allied Prefer); enhanced our study abroad offerings and student participation; successfully completed the accreditation process for the Department of Theatre and the Program Review process for the School of Music; successfully completed a national search for a Director of Development; fully staffed the CARTA | Miami Beach Urban Studios; and redesigned our webpages.

These accomplishments are the result of our continued commitment to excellence, teamwork, and transparency. They truly reflect the combined efforts of our faculty, department chairs, assistant and associate deans, professional staff, students, alumni, and patrons.  They reveal a forward-looking, academically and fiscally sound College that has been recognized nationally and embraced locally — a College that has strategically expanded its footprint and is becoming an acknowledged, innovative solution-center.

Thank you again for your support and commitment to CARTA. I am looking forward to working with you to achieve our collective goals as outlined in CARTA 2020.

Warmest regards,

Schriner Signature


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CARTA’s DLAB Kicks off 2014-2015 in Theatrical Style!

CARTA’s Dean’s Leadership Advisory Board (DLAB) met briefly on September 26, 2014 to introduce the newly elected Chair Rick Tonkinson and Vice Chair Gus Berenblum. Members and guests were treated to a brief cello concert by School of Music student Stephanie Jaimes to start the meeting, held at the Theatre’s Black Box Studio. Dean Brian Schriner introduced Rick, who led the meeting with goals of keeping the Board focused on achieving CARTA’s 2020 vision. Dean Schriner announced a new sponsorship of the upcoming Walk on Water event by Vice Chair Gus Berenblum and Berenblum Busch Architects. CARTA looks forward to a productive, exciting year with such esteemed community leaders at the helm!

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CARTA Happy Hour at Blue Martini A Success

CARTA faculty, staff, and alumni mixed and mingled at Blue Martini on Wednesday, September 19th. Sipping on complimentary drinks and enjoying hors d’oeuvres provided by Blue Martini, guests were able to reconnect with old acquaintances and make new friends. Please click here to view photos from the event.

CARTA would like to thank Blue Martini for their generous support.


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Howard Miller Named CARTA Interim Director of Strategic Planning and Communication

On Wednesday, September 3rd, Mr. Howard Miller was named the College of Architecture + The Arts’ Interim Director of Strategic Planning and Communication. Mr. Miller brings with him unique qualifications, professional experience, and a proven track record as a fundraiser and communication professional. His primary functions will be to proactively support the implementation of CARTA 2020 and will work to establish departmental fundraising boards, provide leadership on all communication discussions and initiatives, assess the effectiveness of the College’s Annual Communication Plan, and ensure the College and its constituent units have strong public images.

As President of Howard R. Miller Communications (HRMC) and Chairman of the Synergy Entertainment Group, Mr. Miller has earned a national reputation as an energetic and innovative executive in the communications and entertainment industry, serving clients in the corporate, social service and entertainment industries. He oversees the day-to-day activities of his award-winning, full-service advertising, marketing and public relations agency, which serves international, national, regional and local clients. Mr. Miller is an FIU alumnus who graduated in 1979. He has served on the FIU President’s Council for five years and been a leader in fundraising for the First Generation Scholarship Campaign.

Please join the Dean and the rest of the College’s faculty and staff in welcoming Howard to his new position in CARTA!



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Dean Schriner Keynote Speaker at Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce City Beautiful Awards

Dean Brian Schriner was invited by the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 City Beautiful Awards celebration on Thursday, August 21stat the Biltmore Hotel, speaking about the power of creative design to realize innovative solutions. He drew parallels between George Merrick’s vision for Coral Gables and the College of Architecture + The Arts’ vision as a premier cultural center and educational institution as entities that rely on the power of architecture and design. The Dean also shared information on how the College engages local and global communities to create, innovate, and inspire solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems.

Sponsored by the City of Coral Gables, and presented in partnership with the Chamber, the City Beautiful Awards are presented by the Chamber each year to celebrate the most outstanding examples of architectural achievement among commercial properties in Coral Gables, presenting awards in the categories of Outstanding Interior Commercial Building, Outstanding Exterior Commercial Building, Outstanding Retail Showroom, and Outstanding Restoration Project.

"GMCG Aug 2014 Breakfast"

Anabella Smith ’81, Partner and Director of Interior Design at Zyscovich, Dean Brian Schriner, and CARTA Director of Development Lisa Merritt

"GMCG Aug 2014 Breakfast"

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CARTA Thanks Rick and Margarita Tonkinson’s Generosity in Naming the WPAC Theatre Lobby

CARTA is grateful for the generosity of Rick and Margarita Tonkinson for naming the Theatre Lobby of the Wertheim Performing Arts Center.  Rick and Margarita have worked together to build Tonkinson Financial and support several organizations.

The grand opening of the Rick and Margarita Tonkinson Theatre Lobby will be at the WPAC on September 26 at 7pm, before the Department of Theatre’s premiere of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband.


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DD@ SoBe — Design Program Success at Miami Beach Urban Studios!

From June 9 through June 20th, Miami Beach Urban Studios played host to DD@SoBe, a two week summer program that provides an intense and enjoyable  introduction to architecture and the related disciplines of landscape and interior architecture. The program takes advantage of the rich cultural context of our studios on Miami Beach’s famous Lincoln Road by using the city as a laboratory in which to study the relationships between design and the built environment.

Thirteen students spent a considerable portion of each day working on design projects, as well as engaging in group discussions with faculty from FIU’s Department of Architecture, including FIU Architecture faculty (and recent graduates) Priscilla Pagan, Marsha McDonald and Jorge Bonsenõr, as well as local designer Holly Zickler . Guest lectures by prominent local practitioners and visits to offices enhanced the learning experience, and guided tours of significant local architecture and urban design projects demonstrate the impact of design on our world.

Professor David Rifkind, the director of the program, said “It has been an intense couple of weeks – and the students have had a fantastic time. We had 13 students ranging in age from high school sophomores to young professionals thinking about changing careers. They worked on two design projects (each lasting one week) and took courses in freehand drawing, measured drawing and modelmaking. We saw real growth in their design sensibilities, representational skills and presentation abilities between the first and second weeks.”

The presence of these young creators at the Miami Beach Urban Studios has added to a wonderful culture of innovation and collaboration that is at the core of what the Studios strives to achieve every day. Congratulations to the students who completed the program so successfully — we look forward to having you back here soon!


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For more pictures of DD@SoBe, please visit our Flickr account!

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Miami Beach Urban Studios Hosts ACSA Conference

During the weekend of April 10th-12, 2014, the 102nd Annual Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) meeting will take place on Miami Beach. This year’s event is co-hosted by Director of Miami Beach Urban Studios/Associate Dean of Cultural and Community Engagement for the College of Architecture + The Arts at FIU John Stuart and Mabel O. Wilson, Associate Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.

This year’s theme for the ACSA Meeting is “GLOBALIZING ARCHITECTURE / Flows and Disruptions.” The conference will focus on ideas of “place, power, and social responsibility” (acsa-arch.org) presented by Marshall McLuhan, communication theorist and intellectual.

Fifty years ago communications theorist Marshall McLuhan rendered this prescient observation:  “As electronically contracted, the globe is no more than a village. Electric speed at bringing all social and political functions together in a sudden implosion has heightened human awareness of responsibility to an intense degree.”  Situated in Miami Beach on the 50th anniversary of the publication of McLuhan’s Understanding Media, the 2014 ACSA Annual Meeting—GLOBALIZING ARCHITECTURE / Flows and Disruptions—will highlight exchanges between architecture and the dynamics of place, power, and social responsibility.

Globalizing Architecture embarks upon a critical examination of the outcomes of McLuhan’s prophetic comments and its impact on the warp and weft architectural education, which may be considered a series of flows and disruptions influenced by the processes of globalization. We characterize global forces as flows because this also allows us to observe those disruptions that slow, impede, or sever connectivity. Today’s architecture curricula engage students in professional studies that are determined by an array of spatial, environmental, technological, media, economic, social, and political factors. Architecture faculty and students are exploring global issues such as sea level change, political unrest, and economic downturns in the studio and out in the field. The globalization of architectural education impacts the profile of our students: where they come from, how we educate them, and where they go with the knowledge and experience gained while matriculating through our institutions. These changes are also mirrored in the profession where architects from large firms to small offices now build and practice in many different regions of the world. New dynamic educational and professional contexts challenge us to take stock of the long held categories of local/global, national/international, and western/non-western. Among the topics to be considered at the Globalizing Architecture conference will be the increased prevalence of travel in design studios, the exploration new pedagogies in global architectural history/theory, expansion in the scope of how sustainable structures and new building technologies are measured, consideration of the impact of digital media technologies and practice, an appraisal of the rapid development of online education, the emergence of new areas of global research and trans-disciplinary practice, and the opening of new spheres of hybrid design practices. (From acsa-arch.org)

On Saturday, April 12th, Miami Beach Urban Studios hosted a day of panel discussions and workshops including “Global Practices” with Enrique Walker, Amale Andraos, Hilary Sample, Juan Herreros and Jeffrey Johnson of Columbia University, “Widening the Pipeline to the Profession” with Randy Steiner from Montgomery College, Andrew Chandler from City College of San Francisco, Lyle Culver from Miami Dade College and Jason Chandler, Chair of the Architecture Department at Florida International University.

For more pictures about ACSA at MBUS please visit https://www.flickr.com/photos/117246202@N04/.

For more articles on the ACSA Conference and FIU’s presence please visit cartanews.fiu.edu.

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Associate Dean of CARTA Adam Drisin with former student, Hilary Sample.                                           Chair of Department of Architecture, Jason Chandler.

photo (7)                                                                       photo (8)

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Oculus Rift At Miami Beach Urban Studios

On April 8th, Nelson Milian came by the Miami Beach Urban Studios to show off the environments he is creating, through virtual reality program Oculus Rift, to the graduate students who study out here on the beach. Working out of the The LAB Miami, Milian creates virtual experiences within built and not built environments through 3D modeling that reflects the space he is capturing. Specifically, he focuses on building these environments for real estate practical usage. These creations are the examples of virtual sales centers for the real estate world, whereas an investor in Abu Dhabi can visit a local sales agency to virtually visit a prospective real estate investment. Additionally he gives speeches and seminars on the technical side of constructing these virtual environments.

During his visit, he allowed students to ‘plug in’ to Oculus Rift to tour the entire interior space of a house, experience a thrilling roller coaster ride, and get lost in the outer reaches of space. With a video game controller, the participants could walk around the house, look at the sky, sides, and edges of the roller coaster ride, and surf virtually along the rings of Saturn. Oculus Rift is such an immersive experience that several students felt slight nausea after the roller coaster ride, as they hadn’t fully prepared for that bottom-dropping-out feeling you get when riding a coaster!

With new advances in the technology that Oculus Rift employs advancing all the time, Nelson talked with the students about how the applications are endless and could include yoga classes that offer full sensory experiences, truly accurate property tours from across the world, and model building for architecture and design students that allow the viewer to fully realize the particulars of a project.

Pictures are below — we even got John Stuart, Director of Miami Beach Urban Studios, to join in!

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For more on Oculus Rift please visit http://www.oculusvr.com/.

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Miami Beach Urban Studios Question and Answer with Mayor Philip Levine

On March 31st, members of Miami Beach Urban Studios went to Start-Up City: Miami at the New World Center. We had the chance to ask Mayor Levine about education and innovation, and MBUS got its very own shout out! Good stuff starts at 18:07!

“Start-Up City: Miami explored key components of a successful urban tech hub, with a particular focus on the vibrant entrepreneurial activity underway in Miami and the South Florida region. In recent years, business incubators, angel investors, and a passionate community of entrepreneurs have transformed Miami into a city brimming with creative energy and innovation. While the high concentration of new ventures is promising, now is the critical time to make smart investments that will secure South Florida’s long-term prospects for competition.

Attracting and retaining talent, scaling startups, and leveraging strong ties with Latin America will all be vital to a newly-revitalized Miami that seeks to keep pace with established high-tech innovation hubs. A full day of panel discussions, headline interviews, and keynote case studies discussed how to harness the economic potential of Miami and delve into the fundamental questions underlying the next stage of start up success.” For more information on Start-Up City, please visit http://www.theatlantic.com/live/events/start-up-city-miami/2014/.

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htc.Workshop at Miami Beach Urban Studios

On Friday, February 21st, the College of Architecture + The Arts’ Department of Architecture presented the sixth htc.Workshop. The workshop “provides a forum for new research in architectural history, theory and criticism through symposia…Emerging scholars discuss their work with peers and senior scholars representing a number of disciplines in order to work through difficult material in a collegial setting. Consistent with the international focus of FIU and the Department of Architecture, the htc.Workshop places special emphasis on contemporary research examining architecture in Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.”

The sixth htc.Workshop, organized by College of Architecture + The Arts Associate Professor David Rifkind, will occur February 20th to 22nd. Rifkind started the htc.Workshop in 2008 as a semi-annual symposium, with funding from the Graham Foundation. It has continued annually with support from the Cejas Faculty Grant Fund, The Wolfsonian-FIU, and the FIU Department of Architecture.

“The htc.Workshop introduces students to new research by emerging scholars studying modern architecture and urbanism in [understudied areas like] Latin America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe,” said Rifkind. “Students have an opportunity to discuss the work with scholars whose research has the potential to dramatically change the way we understand the built environment.”

The panel for this workshop includes:


Kathryn O’Rourke, Trinity University

Alberto Arai’s History and Theory of Mexican Architecture

Alberto Arai’s best-known contribution to Mexican architecture was the group of handball courts he designed for the new campus of Mexico’s National University in Mexico City in 1952.  Set in the stark, rocky landscape of the Pedregal, Arai’s three-sided, open-air courts with inclined walls clad in volcanic stone evoked pre-conquest architecture and embodied Mexican architects’ renewed fascination with ancient Mesoamerican forms at midcentury.  Less familiar, however, is the dense and highly theoretical essay, “Paths Toward a Mexican Architecture,” that Arai published the same year.  Explaining the need for a distinctive national architecture, Arai explored the historical and material reasons Mexico lacked one and, in suggesting that overcoming these obstacles was fundamentally a psychological matter, offered an examination of subjectivity unprecedented in Mexican architectural theory. This paper examines Arai’s ground breaking essay and positions it in relation to long-standing debates about the modern uses of Mexican architectural history, the perceived failures of “functionalist” architecture at midcentury, and developments in Mexican painting in the 1940s.


Patricio del Real, Museum of Modern Art

My Home, mi casa: Phillip and Diego at MoMA

At the time of the publication of Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson’s The International Style: architecture since 1922, mural painting was celebrated as the “art of our times.” At the center of this modern art form were the Mexican muralists, who had popularized it while, at the same time, keeping it firmly within the aesthetic and cultural values of the avant-garde. This presentation analyzes the strategies of incorporating Mexican muralism into modern architecture in Philip Johnson’s fist Architecture Room at The Museum of Modern Art. This little-known exhibition—eclipsed by the Rockefeller Center mural controversy—was part of MoMA’s repeated engagement with Diego Rivera’s work, and with Mexican art and culture that had taken New York by storm since the mid 1920s. With the Architecture Room, the Museum attempted to bring the practice of fresco painting into the private modern interior. Johnson’s room shows the marriage of Mexican muralism and the modern functionalist interior. It exemplifies the adaptability of a nascent International Style, and the ability of its cultural agents to incorporate parallel aesthetic visions of a modern style.


Helen Gyger, Pratt Institute

Revolutions in Self-Help: Peru, 1968–1986

Within months of seizing control in October 1968, the Peruvian Revolutionary Government of the Armed Forces undertook to reverse longstanding attitudes towards urban squatter settlements, beginning with legislation that renamed the “barriadas” (a term now deemed derogatory) as “pueblos jóvenes” (young towns, or young communities). Neither capitalist nor communist, Peru’s “humanist revolution” promised a new society based on the values of “full participation” and social mobilization. The cooperative ethos of squatter settlements, evident in the shared labour of communal construction projects, became a privileged image: framed by slogans such as “Popular Revolutionary Work: Popular Participation is Revolution,” it offered an alternative model of development, based on the values of self-help and mutual support.

As this brief period of revolutionary experimentation was followed by the emergence of neoliberalism in the 1980s, this did not mark the disappearance of support for self-help housing, but rather its reframing. The extreme malleability of self-help in theoretical and ideological terms is demonstrated by the contrasting values and significance attributed to it in two key texts published a decade apart, both of which were rooted in the Peruvian context but had an impact internationally: John F. C. Turner’s anarchist-inflected Housing by People: Towards Autonomy in Building Environments (1976), and Hernando de Soto’s neoliberal manifesto El otro sendero (1986; translated as The Other Path, 1989). While Turner’s theoretical framing of self-help housing—strongly influenced by his experiences as an architect of self-help projects in Peru in the 1950s and 1960s—was focused on community building and community development, de Soto framed self-help housing as a model of entrepreneurship and grass-roots capitalism. This latter formulation soon prevailed, and the rippling influence of de Soto’s arguments on international development agencies—such as the United Nations and the World Bank—shifted their focus from the provision of shelter, infrastructure, or community development programs to facilitating the formalization of property titles in squatter settlements.

This paper will explore how the self-help housing model is pushed to its limits under contrasting political and economic systems, and how these shifts in the formulations of self-help have had an impact on discussions of housing policy up to the present day.


Luis M. Castañeda, Syracuse University

Prefabricated Futures: Education, Politics and Modern Architecture in Mexico, 1940-1960

My paper stems from Architect-Bureaucrats: Architecture and State Power in Latin America, a book currently in preparation that provides a revisionist analysis of the presumed “golden age” of modernism in Latin America through three case studies of the relationship between architecture and politics in Mexico, Peru and Brazil. Its central claim is that the active participation of architects and designers in state politics was one of the primary factors that propelled this panorama of heightened architectural production. My paper presents part of one of these case studies. It examines Pedro Ramírez Vázquez’s involvement with Mexican cultural politics through his production of an understudied system of prefabricated schools between the late 1940s and the early 1960s. Eventually implemented throughout Mexico, Ramírez Vázquez’s portable, lightweight system was also exported to numerous developing countries around the world. This paper argues that the international dissemination of this system positioned radical efforts to reinvent the form and function of public education, a major concern in Mexico after its revolution (1910-1920), as part of a transnational context of no less politically charged efforts.

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“Havana and Its Landscapes” Opens at Miami Beach Urban Studios

On Friday, February 14th at 6:30 pm, Miami Beach Urban Studios hosted the opening reception of Havana and Its Landscapes, an exhibition of photography by Professor Juan Antonio Bueno.

Professor Bueno teaches in the Landscape Architecture department at the College of Architecture + The Arts, and his research focuses on South Florida landscapes, the Spanish patio and cloister, and the natural and cultural landscapes of Havana, including research, planning, and design projects for the urban region.

Havana and Its Landscapes presents a selection of documentary photographs that illustrate the iconic beauty of certain natural, rural and urban landscapes of Havana. The show includes photos of architectural details in buildings and plazas, as well as views of sugarcane fields, beachside sand dunes, and shots of the vistas around Cuba.

Attended by a mix of CARTA students, faculty and staff, as well as members of the Miami Beach community, the opening afforded the opportunity for Professor Bueno to describe the focus and intention behind the exhibition and each individual photo. He discussed the natural light and shadow that appeared in both the photos of nature and in those of architecture found in Havana. He also talked about how the architecture in Cuba has evolved, such as how the cloisters and plazas in Havana serve as general meeting places so that people can meet or conduct business in the shade of the architecture.

The exhibition will run through March 2nd. For any additional information or to find directions on how to visit Miami Beach Urban Studios, please visit mbus.fiu.edu.

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Architecture Students Redesign Lincoln Road – Pecha Kucha Style

On Tuesday, January 21st over a hundred people gathered to hear the design concepts that the Departments of Architecture, Interior and Landscape students presented at the Spring Design Charrette at the Miami Beach Urban Studios.  30 teams presented in a Pecha-Kucha format review, as part of the Wolfsonian-FIU’s first Power of Design 2014, whose theme this year focuses on “Complaints – Why do we complain? Our take? There’s method, purpose, and meaning to complaints. We complain, and then what? We can sit back and complain some more, or we can lean forward into problem solving. Choose the latter approach and complaints can lead to innovations and even solutions. Design itself, a problem-solving process, often originates with complaint.”

The students researched, created, and constructed both digital and physical models to illustrate their ideas to revitalize the space on Lincoln Road at the corner of Washington Avenue. Students worked in interdisciplinary teams of 5, each team a mix of all three departments of architecture.

Curator of the Wolfsonian-FIU Silvia Barisione and Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Miami Jake Brillhart acted as judges along with Chair of the Department of Architecture Jason Chandler; the Executive Director of Miami Beach Urban Studios, John Stuart; and the creator and organizer of the Spring Design Charrette, Assistant Professor of Architecture Nick Gelpi. The judges will decide on the best designs, which will then be exhibited at the Wolfsonian-FIU.

Congratulations to all of the students and their amazing designs!

For more information on “Power of Design 2014: Complaints” at the Wolfonsian-FIU, please click here.

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School of Music and Miami Beach Urban Studios Host New Music Miami Festival 2014

On Friday January 17th, the FIU School of Music hosted the New Music Miami Festival 2014 at the College of Architecture + The Arts’ Miami Beach Urban Studios, which featured Keith Kerchoff. Kerchoff is a leading composer and performer of experimental and modern music, and has showcased his work at a wide variety of music festivals including the Festival de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, Festival Internacional de Müsica Contemporánea, the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS), Performing Arts at CAM (Chelsea Contemporary Art Museum, New York), the Oregon Festival of American Music, PianoForte Chicago, The Experimental Piano Series, Ives and His World, and The eXtensible Toy Piano Project. His featured performance is a highlight of the New Music Miami Festival, which “presents new music for diverse instrumentations throughout Miami, bringing together innovative composers and thinkers along with adventurous performers and audiences.” Kerchoff’s passion for electronic works also led him to create the Electro-Acoustic Piano project which “which supports and promotes new works for piano and electronics. Started in 2009, the project has so far commissioned over twenty different composers, and the program has been presented throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Belgium, Germany, and England.”

Jacob Sudol, Assistant Professor at FIU’s School of Music, not only organized the concert but composed one of the original pieces that Kerchoff performed. To read the tweets and watch the Vines of the performance please click  IMG_2538 and https://twitter.com/jstuartFIUMBUS.

Kerchoff’s show at the Miami Beach Urban Studios was from 7:30 – 9:30 on January 17th. For more information on Keith Kerchoff or the Electro-Acoustic Piano Project please visit http://www.keithkirchoff.com/electronic.html


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Dedication of Kathleen Watson Lending Library

On December 12, 2013 the family of the late Kathleen Watson gathered in the Communication Arts Department’s CommArts Studio for the dedication of the Kathleen Watson Lending Library.  They were joined by the faculty and staff of the department, Dean Brian Schriner from the College of Architecture + The Arts, and Kathleen’s friends, colleagues and former students

“We wanted to do something to honor Kathleen, who was a founding faculty member of the department.  She always had an open door policy for students and was known for offering advice and lending her books to any student who asked.  We also wanted to thank her husband, Herman Watson and Dean Schriner, whose generous gifts to the university have endowed the Kathleen Watson Memorial Scholarship,” said Joann Brown, Chair of Communication Arts.

The lending library contains many of Kathleen’s books along with others purchased by the department.  It is open to all students and those enrolled in Speech and Communication classes may borrow books.  The library contains classic texts like Dale Carnegie’s The Art of Public Speaking and contemporary books like Carmine Gallo’s The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs, along with books and videos on argumentation, debate, rhetorical theory and conflict resolution.

In addition to dedicating the lending library, the ceremony also featured the first recipient of the Kathleen Watson Memorial Scholarship, Jennifer Zamont, who  thanked the family and Dean Schriner for their generosity.  She shared how the scholarship helped her with the high costs of books.  “As a working mother and a student, making ends meet is a struggle.  The scholarship helped me breathe a little easier and I am very grateful,” said Jennifer.  The 2014 scholarship recipient, Dalny Ruel was announced and she also expressed  her gratitude and empathized with the Watson family:  “I lost my mother to cancer also. She was my rock and it is not easy going on without her.  I know she would be very proud of me though and she will be there in spirit when I graduate next semester.  Thank you for helping me.”

After the ceremony, guests spilled out into the hallway for a reception, where the bulletin boards were decorated with birthday greetings for Kathleen, who was born on December 12th, along with decorations for Christmas, Hannukkah, Groundhog’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, the Chinese New Year and just about every other holiday one could imagine.  Many of the items came from Kathleen’s office. “Kathleen was the holiday queen,” said Char Eberly, the Assistant Director of the CommArts Studio. “She loved the holidays and had a decoration for every one of them.  We wanted to keep that tradition going and celebrate her cheerful, happy spirit – and her birthday.”  The family members chuckled as they spotted particular decorations, including a quilted star ornament that Herman Watson recognized as one made to hang on their Christmas tree when the children were small.  As the family posed for pictures and looked over the lending library, the song “Keep me in your heart for awhile” played quietly in the background.

Photos: Kathleen Watson family;  Dalny Ruel and Jennifer Zamont, 2013 and 2014 scholarship recipients; Dean Brian Schriner and Chair of Communication Arts Joann Brown

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Adam Drisin, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, tapped as Co-Director of Design for YoungArts

Sr. Associate Dean Adam Drisin has been tapped to serve as the Founding Co-Director of The YoungArts Foundation’s new Design Arts discipline.  Drisin is tasked with assisting the YoungArts Foundation in their goal of expanding their existing focus on supporting emerging young talent in the literary, performing, and visual arts areas.  The new Design arts discipline area is inclusive of architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, industrial or object design product as well as graphic design, gaming and interaction design. Drisin is joined by Co-Director, Helen Maria Nugent of the School of The Art Institute of Chicago’s Designed Objects Program.

This January, during YoungArts week, Drisin and Nugent will teach an inaugural group of 12 national winners in design who will join their 160 peers from the nine arts disciplines for an intensive week of learning, designing, making and exhibiting.  They will be joined by six recent graduates from FIU’s School of Architecture who will serve as design teaching assistants for the masterclass.

The National YoungArts Foundation 2014 YoungArts Week will conclude with a two-hour presentation and discussion DESIGN NOW, DESIGN FUTURES, with international stars of design and architecture, Paola Antonelli and Frank Gehry. The discussion will be moderated by Professors Drisin and Nugent.

At the request of the Commission on Presidential Scholars, which is appointed by the President of the United States, YoungArts serves as the exclusive nominating agency for the U.S. Presidential Scholars in the Arts, the country’s highest honor for artistically talented high school seniors. As part of his new duties, Drisin will be tasked with nominating the Presidential Scholars in design.

 YoungArts reaches students in every state and assists them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. YoungArts provides aspiring artists with life-changing experiences to help ensure that the nation’s most outstanding emerging artists are encouraged to pursue careers in the arts. 

To date, YoungArts has honored more than 17,000 young artists with over $6 million in monetary awards; facilitated more than $150 million in college scholarship opportunities; and enabled its participants to work with master teachers who are among the most distinguished artists in the world, such as Mikhail Baryshnikov, Plácido Domingo, Bill T. Jones, Quincy Jones and Martin Scorsese.

The National YoungArts Foundation was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison and identifies and supports the next generation of artists, and contributes to the cultural vitality of the nation by investing in the artistic development of talented young artists in the literary, performing, visual and design arts. 

For more information on YoungArts visit here.

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Knight Foundation Challenge Grant Awarded to CARTA

FIU College of Architecture + The Arts, and its Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Adam Drisin, has been awarded a 2013 Knight Foundation Challenge Grant. According to CARTA Dean Brian Schriner, the grant will enable the college to partner with the Harvard Graduate School of Design to launch a summer program for Miami high school students at the College of Architecture + The Arts’ Miami Beach Urban Studios on Lincoln Road.

The grant proposal aims to develop the next generation of South Florida creatives through the creation of a program that centers on careers in the arts and design. Formed in collaboration with Harvard University and based in Miami Beach, the program will explore how designers think, solve problems and improve their surroundings. Students will gain a theoretical framework for design in addition to practical experience solving actual local design problems. Students will examine the range of creative design sector careers that are pivotal to Miami’s future as a “creative city.”  CARTA Associate Dean Adam Drisin will serve as the Principal Investigator.

The official announcement ceremony will be at 6 pm on Monday, Dec 2, at the New World Symphony. As a member of the FIU College of A + A board and a Harvard alum, Bernardo Fort-Brescia of Miami-based architecture firm Arquitectonica has been invited to attend. Dean’s Leadership Advisory Board Member Paul L.Cejas will be in attendance as well.

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MBUS: Discussion on healthcare models, design and innovation

The Miami chapter of Health 2.0 hosted guest speaker Thompson Aderkinkomi at the Miami Beach Urban Studios on Wednesday, October 23 for a discussion about healthcare economic models, design, and innovative patient care delivery systems.

A native of Nigeria and noted innovator, Thompson Aderkinkomi has degrees in business and economics from the University of Minnesota.  He currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange and is the co-founder of RetraceHealth, a new local venture in the development of delivering healthcare with national and global implications that grew out of ideas he developed as he ran a hair salon in Wisconsin.

The event included CARTA faculty and students, along with doctors and other healthcare professionals for an evening of discussion and networking.  The lecture was hosted by MBUS and by David C. McDonald, co-founder of project LIFT, an independent laboratory for innovation in the healthcare space.

John Stuart, Associate Dean and Executive Director of MBUS introduced students to the assembled guests and discussed with members of the public the impact of the arts on healthcare.  He finds this to be a small glimpse into the future of MBUS. “This our first attempts to offer MBUS as an incubator for innovators across disciplines during my tenure as director and points the way for MBUS becoming a solution center in the arts and design for the community.”

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