Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSArch)


Architecture (Architecture)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Allan T. Shulman

Second Committee Member

Jean-François Lejeune

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk


Architecture was first taught at the University of Miami in the 1920s, but the School of Architecture emerged as an independent institution just in the last quarter of the 20th century. The timing was critical: on the one hand, it corresponded with the intellectual agitation of the Postmodern era; on the other hand, its emergence was also linked to the dynamic particularities of its location, climate, and especially to the multi-cultural influences of 1980s Miami, a period when the city was in the process of defining and claiming a distinct hemispheric identity. To an extraordinary degree, the school’s points of focus and its pedagogic heterogeneity relate to the specifics of time and place. This thesis proposes to map and historicize the realization of an independent School of Architecture, and posits that the formation of its identity(ies) are both global and local. I have attempted to weave a polyvocal narrative through the lens of an architecture faculty oral history project that I initiated in order to answer the following questions: How did the school position itself symbiotically within the context of the last quarter of the 20th century in relation to Miami as the city developed an urban presence? How did architectural criticism of the 1970s and the 1980s imprint the mission of the school, and, more importantly, how was the school’s curriculum modeled after the educational legacies of the teaching faculty? How did the School’s pedagogical emphases on civic-minded urbanism, historic preservation and the region’s distinctly sub-tropical vernacular allow it to develop an identity unique among American architecture schools in tandem with a city equally as unlike any other American city?


Architecture teaching and instruction; School of Architecture University of Miami