Presidential Preserve


The following is an excerpt from "Living the Green," a story published in the Spring 2013 issue of Miami magazine.


Its eye-catching interior includes a light fixture assembled of discarded plumbing pipes, a backsplash fashioned from recycled cans, wallpaper made of Sunday funnies, and floors crafted from Florida sand and seashells.Ibis House, the University of Miami president’s new home, is green down to its last detail. Completed in August 2012, it recently earned LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.Low-E glass windows block solar heat, a white roof and walls reduce heat load, and roof-installed solar panels heat water. High-efficiency water fixtures, safer paint coatings, nontoxic pest-control products, and green cleaning agents are among its many other eco-friendly features.A few new custom pieces, such as a striking Odegard rug, have been mixed with furnishings recycled from the president’s previous home to conserve University resources.


Ibis House is the final green jewel in the 32-acre crown of Smathers Four Fillies Farm, a sustainably built community for University faculty and administrators located in Miami-Dade County’s Village of Pinecrest. The 31 single-family homes sit on land bequeathed to UM by philanthropist, horticulturist, and longtime UM trustee Frank Smathers Jr., J.D. ’34. He and his wife bought the lush estate in 1967 and named it in honor of their four daughters (thus the “four fillies”)


Four Fillies’ mango grove is “the single most important mango collection in the world,” notes Bruce Greer, chairman of the board of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, which has partnered with UM to maintain and preserve the property’s more than 21 acres of fruit groves and natural hammock.


The community—built on 11 acres, with two-thirds of the parcel left intact—earned the Urban Land Institute’s Woolbright Dream Green Reality Award, which recognizes projects that reduce environmental impact through energy and water efficiency, use of green building materials, and clean indoor air quality.


Christopher Poehlmann’s custom light fixture for Ibis House is made of discarded plumbing pipes. Photo by Donna Victor


The backsplash in the Ibis House kitchen is made from recycled cans. Photo by Donna Victor


Ibis House is a showcase for locally sourced and recycled materials that incorporate natural elements such as Florida sand and seashells. Photo by Donna Victor


To read the complete "Living the Green" story, click here.