Lectures, panel discussions to discuss “green” architecture

In accordance with the University of Miami’s goal to be more environmentally-friendly, the Center for Urban and Community Design (CUCD) is hosting a green building symposium.

Organizers say that this will help explain everything from green building techniques and practices to vernacular architecture and susbstainable urbanism.

The event, “Under the Sun: Sustainable Innovations + Traditions,” will take place until Jan. 27 and is organized as a series of lectures and panel discussions. Professionals, academics, government leaders and students with an interest in green building have the opportunity to interact with one another during the event.

Topics include conservation and development; design and policy; sustainable urban design; and law and policy.

Registration is $375 per person attendees have the opportunity to receive 15 continuing education credits for this conference. The event is opened to UM students for a fee of 25 dollars.

All events are taking place in Glasgow Hall at the Jorge M. Perez Architecture Center.

Sonia Chao, the symposium chairperson, said that, after being named director of CUCD, she noticed there were a couple of things that were missing.

“I wanted to add a component that would complement our mission to maintain a sustainable community,” she said.

Chao said becoming green is now the way to go.

“There is no excuse for not being green, for not being responsible,” she said.

Among other things, Chao said the purpose of the event is to reach out to the international community.

“We will continue to work with different neighborhoods in our outreach program,” Chao said, referring to the different projects she has in mind.

Nicholas Moses, a senior, said the issue of sustainability is not greatly appreciated by most UM professors.

“[Professors] seem to lose sight of the environment and do not seem to respect the traditions,” he said. “I can only imagine how the new green buildings are going to look.”

Denis Hector, professor and associate dean of the School of Architecture, said this project is one of the most significant ones to be put to practice.

“Here we are teaching architects on how to conceptualize sustainability,” he said.

“It is a whole approach to design.”

In terms of aesthetics, Hector said that although the concept is important to keep in mind, it should not play a major role when constructing the buildings.

“You don’t have to look green to be sustainable,” Hector said.

Some architecture students such as Silvia Urbina, a fifth-year senior, and Rebekah Fried, senior, think this is a good idea.

“I think it is great because it helps the environment,” Urbina said.

Fried said one way to determine the benefits of going green is by looking at ancient architecture and its benefits.

“Right now we are having all sorts of energy crises,” she said. “We need to return to environmentally conscious designs.”

Fanny Olmo may be contacted at

January 26, 2007


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.