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Exterior view of The University of Florida Institute of Black Culture and Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures
University of Florida Institute of Black Culture and Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures

Design Foundations in Cultural Identities

Project Location

Gainesville, FL


University of Florida


13,200 SF


Programming, architecture, interiors, experiential graphic design

The University of Florida entrusted us to design the new Institute of Black Culture and Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures, or La Casita. Our designs reflect the unique cultures housed within each building. La Casita represents the rich colors and textures typical of Hispanic-Latino cultures, while the IBC represents a symbol of social justice that looks towards the future.

Both buildings total 13,230 SF and include offices, event spaces, study rooms, a warming kitchen, and social spaces. The project was delivered using the construction manager at risk method and is designed to achieve LEED v4 Gold. Under LEED v4, the project has achieved notable pilot credits such as Social Equity within the Community, and Bird Collision Deterrence. Energy use intensity for both IBC and La Casita was reduced by 65% and 64% respectively over the baseline model, while potable water usage reduced by a total of 23.41%. We provided programming, architecture, interior design, and experiential graphic services on this project.

Featured Video
Celebrating Cultural Keystones

Discover the story behind the new buildings and our collaborative journey with students, alumni, and staff in creating a welcoming, community-driven environment that fosters a powerful sense of belonging on campus.

The Institute of Black Culture

The IBC concept draws from traditional African pottery to extract geometry in the rotunda, known as the Beacon, while exterior brick patterning exudes a unique symbolism for the organization representing their past, present, and future.

The Institute of Hispanic-Latino Cultures

La Casita’s concept centers around the “living room,” the heart of every home that brings students together in a comfortable, social atmosphere filled with colors and textures representative of their cultures. The exterior of La Casita is adorned with a palapa and other sun-shading canopies that pull patterns from flags of Hispanic and Latin American countries to create identifiable geometries of shade across the building.

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