Lakeside Village wins prestigious architecture award

Lakeside Village, which opened in the fall of 2020, received a coveted international architectural award.
By Robert C. Jones Jr.

Lakeside Village, which opened in the fall of 2020, received a coveted international architectural award.

Lakeside Village wins prestigious architecture award

By Robert C. Jones Jr.
The 12-acre student housing complex, which opened last year on the University’s Coral Gables Campus, is a recipient of the International Architecture Award by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies.

It welcomed students during one of the most challenging periods in the University of Miami’s history. But not even the specter of COVID-19, which forced the institution to change nearly every aspect of the way it operated, could overshadow Lakeside Village’s debut.

Now, a year after the 12-acre student housing complex opened in the heart of the Coral Gables Campus, it has received one of the world’s most prestigious building design awards that one University administrator says is “a clear indication of our hemispheric and global appeal.” 

Lakeside Village is one of the recipients of the coveted International Architecture Awards. Presented by the Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design and the European Center for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, the award honors new and cutting-edge architecture designs from around the world. 

An international jury of prominent architects, designers, critics, and educators selected the winners from more than 450 entries. 

The awards gala reception and dinner will be held Friday, Sept. 10, adjacent to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. And the winning projects will be on display during the special exhibition “The City and the World” at the Contemporary Space Athens until Oct. 11. 

Designed by the award-winning international architecture firm Arquitectonica and built by Fort Lauderdale-based construction company Moss and Associates, Lakeside Village includes 25 interconnected buildings, or “pods,” and a multitude of outdoor spaces including a courtyard, study areas, recreational center with a climbing wall, and outdoor terraces. 

In addition to five floors of student housing for 1,115 sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the first floor and mezzanine level of the main structure serve as retail, event, and office space. The development also includes exhibition space, a 200-seat multipurpose auditorium, classroom, and multiuse pavilion. 

It is the first phase of the University’s Housing Facilities Strategic Plan to improve campus living space for students. 

The 25 interconnected buildings feature 60,000 square feet of sloped green roofs with a layer of grass, reducing the development’s carbon footprint. The green roofs help to reduce solar heat gain and also collect rainwater used on the landscaping. The project is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification. 

“It wasn’t done to be showy,” Jessica Brumley, vice president for the University’s Facilities Operations and Planning division, said of the green roofs. “The designers successfully incorporated sustainability into the building, and that’s something that’s obviously important to us as an institution.” 

Lakeside Village, Brumley explained, satisfies students’ demands for a mixed-use development that offers everything they need in one location, making it unnecessary for them to leave campus. 

“There are several developments being built off campus. So, there’s a certain expectation with students that they are provided certain amenities. Because if they don’t get them on campus, they would look elsewhere,” Brumley explained. “And so, that’s a consistent theme in the phased development of our residential housing—not just looking at the living quarters, but how the overall development impacts the campus community.” 

She praised the award, calling it “a clear indication of our hemispheric and global appeal that President Julio Frenk often speaks of.”

Pat Whitely, senior vice president for student affairs, noted that Lakeside Village "offers our students everything they could want in any upperclass housing area. It has truly activated the other side of Lake Osceola, and our students have embraced the design, offerings, and meticulous planning that went into it." 

"There are few buildings on any univeristy campus that can elevate the living and learning experience. Lakeside Village achieves that and more," said Jon Baldessari, executive director of Housing Operations and Facilities.

The accolade comes on the heels of the development receiving the 2021 Award of Excellence for Sustainability from the Florida/Caribbean chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Lakeside Village is also an Architizer A+ Awards (2021) Popular Choice Winner in the Urban and Masterplan Category and was recognized by the Florida Educational Facilities Planners’ Association with an Architectural Showcase Award in 2020. 

“We were elated to design it,” Bernardo Fort-Brescia, a founding principal of Arquitectonica, said of Lakeside Village. “It’s a project that it is very much in keeping with the trend in architecture right now—designing multipurpose buildings.” 

Arquitectonica’s designers brainstormed with the University’s Facilities Operations and Planning, Housing and Residential Life, and Student Affairs divisions to ensure that Lakeside Village was designed with all the components needed for robust student life.

“Everything was brainstormed,” Fort-Brescia said. “And the University was very much a part of the process and a key player in the discussions about how this residential complex would, indeed, be a village—a place where people live, study, and socialize.” 

Fort-Brescia said his firm approached the project from the standpoint of maximizing the frontage of Lake Osceola. “We integrated a strong sense of connectivity to the existing campus by creating paths and view corridors and strategically locating them on the ground level, and introducing spaces that strengthen student life and wellness,” he said. The overall shape of the building frames an internal courtyard surrounded by classrooms, an arrival lobby, a multiuse hall and auditorium, commercial spaces, a centralized mail hub for all student housing, and pop-up space, he pointed out. 

The balance of the building frames an outdoor recreation space and lawn that front the central campus lake. “By creating this space on the ground, not only does the building promote wellness, outdoor gathering, and recreation, but the shape allows many more dorms to have a view of the lake,” Fort-Brescia pointed out. “By breaking up the overall building into smaller components connected by bridges, it creates a village rather than a single structure. And these bridges on the interior create gathering and study spaces.” 

He noted that wellness is a critical component of Lakeside Village, most notably represented by the hurricane stairs. “They take on a very sculptural and free-flowing form that represents the movement of students within the building and the promotion of using stairs to enhance wellness,” he said. 

“No architect designs in a vacuum; and in this case, the input from the University was immensely important,” Fort-Brescia stated. “Together, we developed what we call in our business ‘a list of uses,’ covering everything from the different types of residential apartments to the gathering and studying areas.”

Other notable projects on the Coral Gables campus designed by Arquitectonica include the Shalala Student Center, the Fate Bridge spanning Lake Osceola, and the School of Architecture’s Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building, a winner of the 2018 Building of the Year award by World-Architects.