Tour highlights campus architecture

Carie Penabad, a professor in the School of Architecture, will lead a tour of the campus’ oldest buildings Friday afternoon.

The walking tour will start at Stanford Residential College and loop around to the oldest buildings on campus, including Merrick and the original wooden administration building located near the Knight Physics Building and the arboretum.

Each stop on the tour will feature a brief history of the building, its creator and its previous purposes.

“It’s an interesting way to learn a little bit about where you’re going to school,” Penabad said. “Most people arrive and they don’t really know much about the campus.”

Penabad is familiar with the history of UM’s buildings. In 2010, she published a book titled “Marion Manley: Miami’s First Woman Architect,” which offers the entire history of UM from an architect’s perspective.

The book focuses on Marion Manley who, in addition to being the first female architect in Miami, played a major role in the university’s rebuilding after a hurricane destroyed the school in 1926.

This hurricane, known as the Great Miami Hurricane, hit just one year after the school first opened. Afterward, students were forced to study at a makeshift campus in downtown Coral Gables.

This hurricane is where UM’s “Hurricane” name and ibis mascot originated.

Penabad said the book, similar to the walking tour, was a surprise to her.

“I stumbled upon it to be perfectly frank,” Penabad said. “Our former dean, Dean Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, asked if I would document those historic buildings on the other side of campus as part of the historic American Building Survey.”

According to Penabad, once she started the research, what was originally supposed to be something small turned into something much larger.

“I discovered this woman who I knew virtually nothing about had built over 100 buildings in Miami and she and Robert Law Reed were responsible for designing the master plan,” Penabad said.

Penabad said that she hopes the tour will help to educate students on other parts of campus they may have never seen, as well as help bridge the gap between students who may not live near each other but still share lots of commonalities.

Junior Erron Estrado, Penabad’s former student, agrees that the history of UM’s buildings would be interesting to students if taught the right way. He said that Penabad’s hands-on approach would be helpful.

“If you physically go see the buildings and you have someone who is knowledgeable about them, then it’s a much better experience as opposed to reading about it in a book,” Estrado said.

Penabad will also offer a class for architecture students who want to have a role in the future of UM’s buildings.

This upper-level class will allow students to make proposals for the preservation of certain buildings as well as possible additions.


Carie Penabad will be leading a tour that explores the oldest buildings on campus. All students are free to join the tour. Students will meet in the lobby of Stanford at 5 p.m. on Friday. The tour officially begins at 5:15 p.m. and is expected to be completed at 6:30 p.m. There will be a reception afterwards, with the opportunity for students to speak with Penabad and other faculty members.