• The New Town Studio
Instructor: Jaime Correa 
Students: 11 
Schedule: M, W, 8-12; F, 2-5

    Credit: Mark Mahaney

    The New Town Studio
    Instructor: Jaime Correa
    Students: 11
    Schedule: M, W, 8-12; F, 2-5

On a perfect October day on the palm-studded University of Miami campus, Jaime Correa's students can be found deep inside a Bauhaus-by-way-of-South Florida 1940s studio block, trawling Google Earth for promising sites for a zero-energy town—the eventual object of The New Town Studio, part of the School of Architecture's post-professional M.Arch. in suburb and town design.

Prior to this exercise, the 11 students began the semester by carefully documenting the pre-1920s conditions of four American cities that Correa calls "prototypical": Annapolis, Md.; Nantucket, Mass.; Newport, R.I.; and San Antonio. Correa, who has been teaching the class since 1989, encourages his students to integrate traditional urban design methods with contemporary technologies and ecological awareness.

It's no surprise that, under the deanship of Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, the school at Miami has become a hub for aspiring New Urbanists. However, the appeal of American New Urbanism—which, after all, celebrates the regional and vernacular—turns out to be broadly international. Teamed up to research town sites on the day of my visit are Sara Hayat, who hails from Iran by way of Germany, and Palak Gandhi, from India. Both say they were drawn to Miami in search of solutions to ramped-up urban development and sprawl in their home countries.

Later, the class moves into the Leon Krier–designed gallery next door for a pinup of their meticulous pre-1920s town maps (the school is known for its fine hand drawings). Student Jeffrey Hall, from Nashville, tells me he left his advertising career to pursue an architectural education in Miami and feels at home with the pedagogical approach here. Evidently, the school that marches to its own drum attracts simpatico students: "We don't have to brainwash anybody," Correa jokes.

2008 Education Issue

  • Marywood University to Open School of Architecture

    Marywood University, in Scranton, Pa., has announced a new school of architecture, the state's seventh. The school, which will begin enrolling students for the fall 2009 semester, will feature a strong focus on sustainable design.

  • The Mentor: R. Steven Lewis

    Reversing the low number of minority architects, says NOMA's new president, requires addressing future generations through nationwide community efforts and institutional partnerships.

  • A Higher Education

    Architecture education is often criticized for different reasons by different practitioners, but its strength is the breadth of what is taught today.

  • Studio: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Weijen Wang's 11 architecture students are getting a lesson in real-world school design that's not quite what they signed on for (just ask them). Not least because the clients are in China—in Sichuan Province's Beichuan County, which suffered a devastating earthquake last May.

  • Old School, New School: University of Virginia

    To redesign Campbell Hall, U.Va. architecture dean Karen Van Lengen hired her own faculty.