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Students studying and engaging in conversation on couches at the Whitten University Center on the University of Miami campus
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University of Miami’s Whitten University Center Renovations Complete

(Coral Gables, Fla., December 4, 2023) – The Whitten University Center stands as the heart of community and learning at the University of Miami. Its second floor Student Village contains a diverse array of departments and suites tailored for student groups and organizations. The University invited DLR Group to spearhead the redesign of office and lounge spaces on the second floor, aiming to craft a warm and social haven that grants better accessibility to these resources.

The Whitten University Center is a hub for community and learning on the University of Miami campus.

University of Miami Whitten Center, Coral Gables, FL. Photo by Chad Baumer.

With 15,000 SF, the space is home to offices and suites that represent a vast array of students, including the Veterans Resource Center, the LGBTQ+ Student Center, and the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs. Through an extensive process of engagement with both students and staff members, DLR Group collaborated closely with the University to reimagine and prioritize the purpose of these spaces. The goal was to create an environment that is more unified, cooperative, functional, and welcoming to the diverse range of student groups that call the campus home.

“DLR Group was intentional in gathering feedback and listening to members of the university community,” said Renée Dickens Callan, Ed.D., Assistant Vice President of Student Life at the University. “They paid special attention to the student voice and worked diligently to incorporate their ideas, which resulted in a space that visually illustrates the importance of representation and a commitment to creating a culture of belonging.”

The resulting space is a functional, aesthetically pleasing, and inclusive space that truly captures the essence of the University’s values and vision. Each individual student group’s space has their own unique palette incorporating colors, textures, and patterns reminiscent of their cultural history. This visual exploration is also woven into the design of the communal lounges which have a subtle nod to each group while creating one cohesive composition.

DLR Group Associate and Experiential Graphic Designer Jovaney Hollingsworth collaborated closely with the student groups to produce wall murals for the space. “Working on the murals for the Whitten Center lounge provided me an opportunity to not only learn about the different cultures and customs of each unique student group, but to gain a deeper understanding of what representation means to them,” said Hollingsworth. “It was an honor working on this project.”

“One of my favorite details of the newly renovated space is the beautiful artwork used to positively represent various identities,” said Lauren Lennon, a 2023 graduate and engagement process participant. “The attention to detail and incorporation of student voices is what makes this space so special. The space embraces diversity and serves as a constant reminder that every student brings something unique to our campus community.”

DLR Group provided programming, planning, construction documentation, furniture specification, experiential graphic design, construction administration and cost estimation services.

DLR Group Senior Principal and Brand Communications Manager andy ernsting
For media queries, please contact: Andy Ernsting, Brand Communications Leader

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