CARTA Downtown
by Ed Seymour

The College of the Arts & Architecture (CARTA) Downtownproposal seeks to remedy the college’s need for a holistically integrated,state-of-the-art facility, prominently located within a major cultural hub inMiami.  As well as, meet and exceed thespecific needs of students in the disciplines of arts and architecture.  The inter-weaving of education, architectureand surrounding urban context became catalyst for design by establishing theirequal hierarchy throughout the volumes. Also, the balanced distribution of the program creates opportunisticpockets for social interaction within all levels.  Furthermore, the monolithic volumes are carvedby light-wells providing precious natural light to lower floors, creating alively and energetic atmosphere for inhabitants in all levels.
 The urban settings posed several constraints, such as; a verynarrow site, complex program, natural lighting requirements, and overactiveurban sprawl.  By capitalizing on theseconstraints, thoughtful solutions were created to passively engage the site,utilizing potential limitations as opportunities for creativity.
The public lobby is a multi-leveloutdoor condition with overlooking views of W. Flagler Street, intended toprovide students & faculty with a temporary release from their busyschedules.  The multi-level studios arecontained within the East Wing and West Wing, respectively.  These are located within the top floors,taking full advantage of the strong breezes, natural light, and excellent viewsof Downtown Miami.  Also, the large curtainwalls of the studios are protected from direct sunlight by a grate metal meshalong the exterior facade of the building, significantly reducing heatgain.  Additionally, the top floor isshaded by a wrapping trellis condition, allowing for outdoor activities at alltimes.  Photo-voltaic panels areinstalled on 70% of the roof area producing a considerable percentage of thebuilding’s energy requirements.  In all,the CARTA Downtown proposal implements a holistic approach to a creativedesign.