Below is an article about Florida International University’s “Sky Lounge” at their Modesto Maidique Campus. For the original article, click here. Article by Silvia Rodriguez from FIU News.
Tiny flecks of blue glass on the ground and air ferns hanging from steel mesh structures are some of the most striking features of the brand-new DM courtyard on Modesto A. Maidique Campus.
Built in 1973, the Deuxieme Maison building, or “DM,” as it is known to FIU students and faculty, has been revived with the new design.
“When I volunteered to redesign the space about a year ago, it was an empty courtyard that consisted of concrete paving and red mulch with no planting or furnishing,” said Roberto Rovira, associate professor and chair of the School of Architecture and the lead designer for the project.
The newly renovated DM courtyard features hanging planters and steel seating against a pop of blue to create an inviting space.“The new courtyard re-introduces vegetation by planting three stainless steel nets overhead with over 3,000 air plants and employs a blue-flowering vine that will quickly climb up the new trellis system and cover the walls of the first two floors,” Rovira added.
Students have already started to take advantage of the new space, which includes custom-designed lounge chairs.
“The blue is nice. It’s really zen,” said sophomore Naphtalie Jeanty, referring to the shards of recycled blue glass that cover the floor area.
“I’m kind of a tree hugger, so I like the way it incorporates nature into the art,” said nursing major Shanice Suarez. “It looks very peaceful.”
The project began more than a year ago, when Rovira and four students from the School of Architecture began to examine the area and draw up sketches of what he now calls “The Sky Lounge.”
Students José Álvarez, Martina González and Luis Jiménez from FIU’s landscape architecture program and Mario Menéndez from the architecture program helped with tasks ranging from documenting the previous conditions to testing the bench design. Students also installed the air plants that hang from the ceiling structure.
“It was a pleasure to work with such a committed team of students who have quickly become the project’s biggest advocates,” said Rovira.
Although already open for use, the space will be officially inaugurated in May.