As World War II came to an end, the world had changed dramatically and from fashions to architecture, Americans wanted a “New Look.” The University Board of Trustees took the bold step of discarding the romantic Spanish Renaissance-style campus plan from the 1920’s and instead hired architects Robert Law Weed and Marion I. Manley to lay out the new campus and design the first buildings in the avant-garde International style. Robert Law Weed said in an interview that University President “Dr. [Bowman] Ashe ... always considered the university should be one of its own age, the one it was designed in, and not based on some kind of art or architecture of a bygone era.”
The International style had its origins in Europe in the aftermath of World War I, where the urgent need for a great deal of affordable housing in a short time was similar to the University’s situation with the large influx of students after World War II. The need for efficiency and economy translated into a minimalist style of architecture, devoid of regional characteristics or ornament, giving it an “international” homogeneity.
A subtype of the International Style, “Subtropical Modernism,” evolved by architects such as Weed, Manley and Little who sought to adapt structures to the environment of South Florida. It employs such elements as sunshades, rain protection, cross ventilation, and a blending of indoor and outdoor environments - all traits found in the early buildings on the Coral Gables campus. The architects themselves said in a 1947 press release concerning these structures, “In orientation, maximum advantage has been taken of prevailing breezes, sunshade and views.”