Groundbreaking launches School of Architecture studio construction

Guests gather to celebrate the ground breaking of the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio near the School of Architecture Wednesday afternoon. Giancarlo Falconi // Assistant Photo Editor
Guests gather to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio near the School of Architecture on Wednesday afternoon. Giancarlo Falconi // Assistant Photo Editor

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Thomas P. Murphy Design Studio Building, highlighting the building’s function and transformative significance to the School of Architecture, was held on Wednesday afternoon.

The building is the result of a $3.5 million gift from Coastal Construction and is named after the father of the company’s president and CEO, Thomas P. Murphy Jr. The building will be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified and feature about 20,000 square feet of space, including outdoor workspaces. The space will fit more than 120 students and will have a fabrication lab, state-of-the-art work stations, a student lounge, a computer lab, presentation areas and review spaces.

According to the School of Architecture’s dean, Rodolphe el-Khoury, the new building will bring students together and change the way professors in the School of Architecture teach.

“Through learning by making, this building will be the catalyst for the school’s evolution,” he said.

Stuart Miller, chairman of the school’s Board of Trustees, singled out Murphy Jr., a UM alumnus, as a part of the university’s efforts to keep their legacy connected to the community. Miller believes that the building will mark the next leap forward for the School of Architecture.

“At the heart and soul of what’s important to the university is the building process,” Miller said.

President Julio Frenk spoke about the school’s specialization in generating environments that are accessible and beneficial to the community and how the new building will emphasize this.

“Innovative leaders are creating the next generation of transformative students,” President Frenk said of Murphy and his company’s contribution.

A team from architecture firm Arquitectonica, led by School of Architecture adjunct faculty member Raymond Fort and founding Principal Bernardo Fort-Brescia, crafted the building’s design.

Murphy Jr.’s contribution to the design studio was based on the idea of collaboration. His goal is to induce collaborative efforts through the open-space design of the structure.