The UF College of the Arts plaza will soon have a redesigned plaza to greet visitors. The award-winning architecture firm Baker Barrios has offered the firm’s services pro-bono to aid the college in creating a vision and plan for the plaza that stretches alongside SW 13th Street.
"We have wanted to address the entrance to the College of the Arts as a significant piece of the UF campus for some time,” said Dean Lucinda Lavelli. “This area, which features the University Gallery frontage, is passed by thousands of vehicles daily and has the potential to be another beautiful entryway into UF for pedestrian traffic, students and visitors alike.”
On Sept. 18, 2014, two of the firm’s principals, Tim Baker and Carlos Barrios, met with key leadership from the college to tour the area and hold an initial discussion and review the original plaza design, which has only slightly changed in the last 50 years. The goal of the new design will be to make the plaza a distinctive place for art and creativity and also have it be an outdoor space utilized by the larger campus community.
"The plaza for the College of the Arts has great potential for scale and variety in the space,” said Barrios, an alumnus of the College of Design, Construction and Planning and a former Gator Band member. “This space is like a great outdoor living room for the college and UF. The plaza is in great need of attention and, as a UF alumnus, I am looking forward to working with a broader group to envision what it can become."
The next step of the planning process will take place in January when representatives from Baker Barrios will lead a charrette with key College of the Arts stakeholders, students and leaders to create a master plan for the plaza renovations with the goal of engaging a broad base of support for implementation.