Florida Architecture School Wins U.S. Building of the Year

Named for the late father of Tom Murphy, Jr., President, and CEO of Coastal Construction Group, which served as contractor on the building, the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio was inaugurated in November 2018. It was designed by Arquitectonica partners Bernardo Fort Brescia and Laurinda Spear with their son, Raymond Fort, all of whom have served on the faculty of the University of Miami School of Architecture. Under Dean Rodolphe el-Khoury, Arquitectonica designed a 20,000-square-foot building that serves up to 130 students with open studio spaces, fabrication labs, “crit” spaces, and faculty offices.

The rectilinear building is defined by 18-foot tall, hurricane-proof glass walls that provide plenty of natural light for the studio spaces ― enough that very little artificial lighting is needed when using the building. Direct sunlight is reduced by the overhanging roof, which droops in the southwest corner as if it were warped by the Florida heat; in actuality, the low point shades a small outdoor space near the entrance. Like many architecture schools this century, the design of the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio is meant to educate students about design: “illustrating some of the basic tenets of modern architecture, construction, and sustainability,” in the architects’ words.

Al-Farooq Corporation worked closely with ESWindows and Ready Windows from the inception of the project to test the building’s curtainwall design & provided one-time approvals.