The project is located in the industrial zone of Little Haiti, a Miami neighborhood which has undergone major transformation in recent years. Oolite Arts is an oganization founded three decades ago by Ellie Schneiderman. It provides the city’s visual artists with affordable workspaces.
In a dry environment, Barozzi Veiga’s design creates an oasis of calm for artists and a space for encounters with the local community. The program is organized without hierarchies like a small village of concrete that opens inward. Built around a long narrow garden, the complex features studios, educational spaces, and an auditorium. Outside, the seemingly hermetic plinth is topped with towers serving different functions: skylights, windcatchers, solar chimneys, water tanks. And in doing so, it creates a highly efficient bioclimate. Sensitive to the climate of Miami, passive and active strategies are combined to mitigate the heat of its summers, benefit from its moderate winters, and harness its year-round abundant rainfall. The thermal mass of the materials used increases inertia in the face of the constant fluctuation of local temperature, and rainwater is harvested for the irrigation of the gardens.