Frost School of Music, University of Miami (USA)


Established in 1926, the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music is one of the world’s top 20 music schools. In 2003, a major donation by Dr, Phillip and Patricia Frost 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. This presented a challenge in a south Florida climate defined by year-round warm weather and intense sunshine. 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. The team considered external louvers and other traditional options to control the sunlight, but none of these methods satisfied all project goals for performance, aesthetics and student comfort. Ultimately, the ideal solution was found in electrochromic window glazing.

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. The facility offers more than 40,000 square feet of acoustically engineered teaching spaces. Rooms are also comfortable and daylight-optimized, due to electronically tintable SageGlass® glazing installed throughout.

SageGlass is dynamic glass that darkens 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, with each room configured as a “floating box” within a box. No two rooms share walls, floors or ceilings, providing the optimal acoustics for performing music.

Arrays of triangular SageGlass windows framed in white concrete walls make a bold architectural statement on the exterior. As the building industry’s only dynamic glass available in non-rectangular shapes, SageGlass was integral to bringing HOK’s distinctive window design to life.


“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,” said HOK architect Alex Rodriguez. “To that end, the facility employs a light-harvesting, energy-efficient 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 said. “With SageGlass, we were able to maintain outside views and keep people comfortable inside, while also minimizing energy consumption to achieve the project’s LEED goals.”

LOCATION: Coral Gables, Florida



PHOTOGRAPHY: Moris Moreno Photography



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Additional Information on Frost School of Music

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

Alex Rodriguez, Architect HOK

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