This semester Up-lab will offer three distinctive hands-on internships for FIU students based on current projects at different stages of development. Students who participate will be charged with writing weekly project posts based on a series of scopes and questions pertinent to each specific project. These posts will be included in the Up-Lab online platform as a blog posts in an “Intern Series” during their school semester. By the end of the semester students will turn their posts into portfolio boards to be presented in a final jury before FIU faculty and critics and Up-Lab staff.
Students will carry out their independent study in coordination with Up-Lab co-founders Jennifer Siqueira and Hector F. Burga. Each week will entail a research question/design exercise with a 250 word post or the development of a graphic exercise. By the end of the semester students will turn their series of blog posts into graphic boards showcasing the definition of the problem, precedents, case study development and major findings/design work.
The information, boards, and data developed during the internship will be crucial for the evolution of up-Labs current initiatives and projects. Up-Lab considers the interns not only as students but also as partners in the development of a new discourse about design innovation, planning research and sustainability alternatives in Miami.
1) Arcahie Environmental Center: Up-lab is currently collaborating with Operation Green Leaves, a Haitian-American non-for-profit in the design development of a Bamboo Research center in the locality of Alcahie, Haiti. The goal of the center is to provide a hub for the material research, agricultural production and education of Bamboo products. Intern activities will include the completion of a marketing package, design development for the housing portion of the project, site development, and the design of a construction prototype.
2) Compost Mobile: Up-Lab is currently engaged in investigating the potential application of compost technologies and infrastructures in the municipality of Miami Beach. This project, in its preliminary stages, includes policy research of waste management systems and the design of composting stations in different urban contexts. Intern activities will be divided in two parts: 1) A comprehensive best practice analysis of waste management technologies/infrastructures with a particular focus on composting across major cities. 2) The identification, selection and development of design alternatives for composting in a neighborhood in Dade County. The latter part of this project will include the design of a composting network/hub, as well as the policy implications of such an intervention.
3) My Home Initiative: Up-lab is currently developing a pilot program focused on the regularization of land tenure in Latin America. The “My Home” initiative aims to enhance the role of architects in this process by combining upgrading strategies with micro-financing best practices. Intern activities will include the development of a matrix/inventory of Micro-financing best practices and Land tenure models. This research will include the investigation of organizations such as Terranova and Kiva as well as the development of a prototypical program which will link transnational communities between miami and locations in need in Latin America.
Up-Lab interns come from diverse backgrounds and stages in their design education at Florida International University’s School of Architecture.
Clark Agravante is currently completing his Architecture Bachelors Degree at FIU. His design focus has been housing and public space. He believes architects should design buildings that are not only beautiful in execution but also functional in realization. He considers that architecture can be measured in relation to the positive effects a structure brings to its surrounding context. He is interested in designing architecture that specifically benefits the residents and stimulates the public life of less exposed parts of Miami. This goal led him to become a member of UP lab’s Compost Mobile Team and consider the design of a composting system aiming at decreasing the carbon footprint of neighborhoods in Miami.
Joann Feng is an architecture student at Florida International University. Born in Miami and raised in Taiwan, Joann spent most of her childhood playing around in her father’s architecture firm and running around in the beautiful hills of Taipei, where her family resides. She sees architecture and nature as the most dominant forces molding her into the passionate architecture student she is today. She believes that architecture is not only about designing and aesthetics, but also about finding an appropriate solution for specific situations that sustain the natural environment. Through Up-Lab she hopes to be exposed to practices from different professional fields and give back to Miami at the same time. Joann is part of the Compost Mobile team.
Jose Nava is a photographer and architecture student at Florida International University. After living in several cities in the US, Mexico, Colombia, and Canada, Jose finally settled in Miami, five years ago. The experience of being raised in different countries in North and South America helped Jose develop a profound perspective on the imperative to provide architectural solutions for under-privileged populations. This exposure has led Jose to volunteer in rural communities in Mexico as well as in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. In his architectural education, Jose has applied this interest towards humanitarian design solutions in environments defined by underdevelopment and emergency situations, locally and internationally. Jose has also interned for major international firms in Miami as well as in New York City, where he has further gained insightful experiences about the architecture profession. Jose is part of the Environmental Center team.
Priscilla Pagan is a fifth year graduate student in the accelerated M. Arch Program. She is interested in how members of local communities can influence and contribute to the design decisions envisioned by architects. She applies this interest to Miami where her portfolio work is guided by the concern of providing quality of life improvements to everyday residents. Priscilla will comprise the Compost Mobile team, working to bring composting methods to local communities and gearing potential improvements and innovations in the future development of the Miami.
Andrea C. Riba Combatti is a senior student in the Dean’s List, a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, an active member of the AIAS and a research Assistant at the School of Architecture. Originally from Maracaibo, Venezuela, her interest in architecture and engineering is oriented towards social and urban scopes through the following question: How can architects contribute to progress in developing countries and help underprivileged communities live a healthier, more productive life. During her free time, Andrea takes pleasure in volunteering with the construction of low income housing with programs such as ‘Habitat for Humanity’ and the ‘Solar Decathlon Design Competition. Andrea is part of the My Home team.
Jillian Rio is an architecture student currently completing her master’s degree at FIU. Her interests over the course of her education have been focused on urban planning, urban design and public space. The majority of her projects focus on the quality, integrity and access of public space and the affect these spaces have on community interaction as well as public life in the city. Her goal to assist residents through environmental design brings her to Up-lab and the engagement with pressing topics pertinent to urban communities in need. Outside of studio, she divides her free time between her bonsais, orchids and water related activities. Jill is part of the Environmental Center Team.
Diana Miriam Viera was born in Cuba. She came to the United States in 1997 with her family. She is involved in different organizations: Alpha Rho Chi, a professional fraternity of Architecture and the Arts and “Wave-the-Flag” a non-profit she started during high school to raise money to build homes for veterans. Now, studying Architecture, she is developing her skills as a designer to engage the needs and challenges of disadvantaged communities. In her academic projects, she emphasizes the need for circulation to create moments of community interaction, social connection, as well as respect for the natural environment. Diana is part of the My Home team.
INTERN BLOG SERIES
Arcahie Environmental Center