Impact on Learning

University of Miami

Project Snapshot

PROJECT: Optimized Daylighting
INSTITUTION: University of Miami
LOCATION: Coral Gables, FL

University of Miami

Maintaining great outside views and helping the Frost School of Music stay energy efficient are just two of the benefits electronically tintable SageGlass windows provide. They also give students lots of natural light for a better learning environment and help make the building a great gateway at the edge of the campus.


Established in 1926, the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music is one of the world’s top 20 music schools. A major donation from the Frost family allowed the university to pursue plans to build a new, state-of-the-art facility for instruction, performance and recording.

Project leaders sought to create a visually stunning and energy-efficient building with ample outdoor views of the lakeside campus and abundant natural light reaching classrooms and practice spaces. Building designers had to find a way to control glare and solar heat gain inside while preserving light infiltration and building aesthetic appeal.

The university hired renowned architecture firm HOK to design the facility and develop a solution, led by famed architect Yann Weymouth.

University of MiamiTHE SOLUTION

Today, a new, LEED Platinum-pending twin-building complex at the Frost School of Music is bustling with nearly 800 students and 125 faculty members. Rooms are also comfortable and daylight-optimized, due to electronically tintable SageGlass glazing installed throughout.

SageGlass is dynamic glass that tints or clears in response to sun intensity throughout the day, controlling glare and solar heat gain. The SageGlass enhances the indoor environment by providing natural daylight and outdoor views. The dynamic glazing also supports the light-harvesting design of the indoor space.


“The goal was to create a highly sustainable, state-of-the-art facility for teaching, learning, performing and recording music, as well as provide a beautiful gateway at the campus’ edge,” says HOK architect Alex Rodriguez. “To that end, the facility employs a light-harvesting, energyefficient design that requires less than half the energy of comparable buildings.”

SageGlass is one of a number of eco-friendly design elements that helped HOK achieve LEED Platinum-pending certification. The Frost School also features rooftop photovoltaics, rainwater harvesting cisterns, water-efficient landscaping and precast concrete walls that sequester smog from around the building.

“Sustainable design, natural lighting and outdoor views create better learning environments as well as enhance the creative process of music,” Rodriguez says.

SageGlass is the pioneer of the world’s smartest electrochromic glass and is transforming the indoor experience for people by connecting the built and natural environments. Electronically tintable SageGlass controls sunlight to optimize daylight, outdoor views and comfort while preventing glare, fading and overheating without the need for blinds or shades. SageGlass dramatically reduces energy demand and the need for HVAC by blocking up to 91 percent of solar heat.

Editor’s Review

Lighting studies have proven that the use or inclusion of natural light into facilities in which learning takes place impacts student performance. Biologically effective lighting that can be generated through the combination of both natural and artificial sources — such as in the Frost School of Music project — has been proven to increase the cognitive performance capability of students. An added bonus is the energy savings realized.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .