University of Miami Patricia Frost School of Music South / Coral Gables, FL 

LEED NC Platinum / August 2016
Spinnaker Services:
      Consulting
      Commissioning
      Energy Modeling


Located on the University of Miami's Coral Gables campus, the Patricia Louise Frost Music Studios South Building -- 13,992 sf with triangle-shaped energy-efficient windows and solar arrays -- was the first LEED Platinum certified building project (in 2016) in the City of Coral Gables. The first of a twin-building music-studio complex, this higher-education project with multi-purpose spaces is ADA Compliant. Design goals were to:

  • Create a highly sustainable facility that would unite over 770 students and 125 faculty within the School of Music campus.
  • Provide an upscale space with superior, state-of-the art facilities for teaching, learning, performing and recording music.
  • Physically connect and integrate the new facilities with the school’s existing historically significant music practice building.

UM Frost Music Studio is actually two sleek buildings -- two LEED Platinum certifications -- the north side and the south side combine to make up 41,000 sf including a reception center and furnished breezeway terrace. The south building added a new grand entrance, highlighted by prominent structures, to act as a gateway and define the edge of the School of Music campus.

The buildings sport two extra-large rehearsal halls plus 77 spacious chamber music and teaching studios. Designed with careful attention to acoustical requirements, each room is a "floating box" within a box; no two rooms share walls, floors or ceilings. This structural independence creates acoustical isolation, allowing students to learn, practice, perform and record without interference from other artists practicing in the next room.

The LEED Platinum south-building project was the first to be pursued in the City of Coral Gables. LEED / Sustainability features included: 

  • The project’s light-harvesting and energy-efficient design requires less than half the energy of a typical comparable building in South Florida.
  • Photovoltaic panels, installed on the rooftops, provide approximately 12 percent of the facility’s electrical requirements.
  • LED lighting and a highly efficiency HVAC system made up of active chilled beams lower the need for power and allow for humidity control.
  • The roof membrane is made of a reflective off-white coating to reduce the heat-island effect and help to keep the building cool.
  • Modulated electro-chromic windows sense light and heat to automatically lighten or darken the interior. The sensors maximize daylight and views, while reducing glare and keeping the building cool during periods of intense exposure Separate override capabilities for each room allow precision tuning and optimum thermal comfort.
  • A rainwater harvesting system and water-efficient landscaping reduces potable water use by a dramatic 80 percent. Rainwater is captured in cisterns and used for irrigation and flushing toilets.
  • The buildings are framed in structural white precast concrete panels that include an admixture of titanium dioxide. The admixture is also included in the roof membrane and is designed to sequester smog from the air around the building. This reduces air pollution much like trees do, and prevents the walls from collecting dirt over time.
  • Air quality was further addressed through the use of 100 percent low-emitting building materials, as well as mold- and stain-resistant framing.
  • Sustainably sourced materials were used throughout, including rapidly renewable (and sound-absorbing) bamboo or ground seashell for flooring, and FSC-certified sustainably harvested wood for doors and millwork.
  • More than 20 percent of materials were sourced locally and over 20 percent had high-recycled content.