University of Florida Cultural Institutes

  • Project Type

  • Opened/Completed

    • 2019

Design Achievement - Embarking on a new journey for the Multicultural & Diversity Affairs department, whose mission is to preserve the cultural histories represented on campus, the University of Florida entrusted DLR Group to design the new Institute of Black Culture and Institute of Hispanic and Latino Cultures. Through a transparent visioning and programming process, DLR Group helped students, alumni, and staff build consensus in their priorities of space for these new buildings, while balancing program challenges and site constraints. DLR Group worked closely with the university to establish a project team and student advisory committee to help guide the inclusive process. Weekly on-campus or video meetings were held while design concepts progressed to ensure all voices were accounted for, and a specially created website shared meeting minutes and presentations to improve connectivity and transparency throughout the process. DLR Group’s designs for both the exterior and interior reflect the unique cultures housed within each building. While La Casita stakeholders want their space to "feel like abuela's house," IBC stakeholders wanted "a symbol of social justice that looks towards the future." Ultimately, the designs draw various moments of cultural significance into each building. La Casita extracts geometries from flags of Hispanic and Latin countries for exterior sun-shading devices, and carries the inspiration of an abuela's colorful house from the exterior into the interior. The IBC concept draws from traditional pottery to extract geometry and symbolism used in the brick patterning or the rotunda, known as the Beacon.

Scope Summary - Both buildings total 13,230 SF and include offices, event spaces, study rooms, a warming kitchen, and social spaces. Also included are site improvements, underground utilities, tree mitigation, telecommunications, furniture, equipment, and artwork. The project was delivered using the construction manager at risk method and is designed to achieve LEED v4 Gold. Under LEED v4, the project has achieved notable pilot credits such as Social Equity within the Community and Bird Collision Deterrence. Energy use intensity of the IBC and IHLC was reduced by 65% and 64% respectively over the baseline model while potable water usage reduced by a total of 23.41%. Through the lens of user experience, DLR Group focused on the following Top Ten measures as outlined by the AIA's Committee on the Environment: Design for Integration; Community; Water; Economy; Energy; Wellness; and Design for Change. DLR Group provided programming, architecture and interior design services on this project.