B.E. & W.R. Miller BuildLab Infill Louvered Walls

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Designed by Professor Rocco Ceo, single, spacious outdoor room, 1924 sq. ft. in plan, 17’-0” high, the B.E. & W.R. Miller BuildLab’s structural system is realized in a poured-in-place reinforced concrete frame. The concrete building was ready for the Design/Build Studio to complete the infill of operable, louvered wood panels on the upper level and louvered doors on the ground floor in the Fall of 2017. One building-height door is positioned in the center of the south elevation and sized to the dimensional clearances required of the road, allowing for a flatbed truck to back in and load a building, in part or whole, no more than 8’-6” wide or 13’-6” high from grade.

These maximum dimensions are specified by the Florida Department of Transportation for transporting anything down the road without a special permit. The building as a whole is in some ways like a mold or jig built to check dimensions of all that goes out from it. In short if it can leave the building it can go down the road.

At grade, docked around the buildings base, are four 15’ long steel containers which house materials, tools, and all equipment needed for building. The B.E. & W.R. Miller BuildLab is an open hub of activity through the process of infill now, and into the future as the site where modular projects will be assembled, disassembled, then shipped and re-assembled on site.

The student designed wood louvered wall system is made of ‘kebony,’ a durable, non-toxic alternative to pressure treated lumber. After numerous full scale mock-ups of different louver spacing, the students arrived at a design that encourages sunlight, ventilation and visibility into the structure to make a very open and public gesture.

Expanding the studio’s scope and productivity by providing year-round protection from the weather as well as safe and efficient tool and material storage, the B.E. & W.R. Miller BuildLab will also enhance the pre-fabrication capabilities of the studio. Direct access for trucks will greatly facilitate material handling and final delivery of the projects, given the adherence to FDOT’s standards. The activity of construction and the Design/Build students’ infill work has already made the B.E. & W.R. Miller BuildLab a campus destination.


Client: University of Miami School of Architecture 

Students: Noor Alhazeem, Feras Almadhi, Mohammed Alwadie, Bernute Augustin, Xuan Bo, Emily Elkin, Marina Engel, Luke Gardner, Chesney Henry, Shannar O'Connor, Nahar Rushdi, Davin Stancil, Justin Tehrani, Kaidi Wei (KD), Jingchao Wu

Faculty: Jim Adamson, Rocco Ceo