College of Architecture + The Arts earns $75k Wells Fargo grant to advance Woodcrete

February 11 16:55 2015

MIAMI, FL – Feb. 11, 2015 – Florida International University’s College of Architecture + The Arts  has been awarded a $75,000 Wells Fargo Clean Technology and Innovation grant to advance its sustainable mixed building material, Woodcrete. The material, formally known as wood aggregate concrete, is made from concrete and melaleuca (Melaleuca quinquenervia), an invasive tree that threatens the Everglades ecosystem. The material is porous and allows for the easier drainage of rainwater.

“Woodcrete has been used locally by our faculty and students to create a butterfly garden at Oleta River State Park, and this grant will allow Architecture Professor Nicolas Gelpi and Landscape Architecture Professor Roberto Rovira to lead interdisciplinary teams in exploring broader uses for it,” said Brian Schriner, dean of the College of Architecture + The Arts. “Associate Dean John Stuart and I are proud of the work that our students and faculty are doing to support green initiatives.”

Students from the College of Architecture + The Arts created Woodcrete under the leadership of Rovira and Gelpi and with the support of industry sponsors. They researched and proposed applications and designs for the aggregate concrete. Currently the butterfly garden at Oleta River State Park serves as a sanctuary for butterflies, an attraction for park visitors and as an outdoor classroom for local schools.

“Wells Fargo recognizes that the health of our environment is critical to fostering more sustainable communities today and for years to come,” said Ashley Grosh, head of Wells Fargo Environmental Affairs Clean Technology program. “We’re pleased to announce Florida International University as a recipient of Wells Fargo’s environmental grant program to help provide long-term solutions to the world’s greatest environmental challenges.”

The grant program began in 2012 as part of Wells Fargo’s commitment to provide $100 million to environmentally-focused nonprofits, colleges and universities by 2020. It is funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and is strategically aligned with the company’s vision and values to foster economic development, especially in underserved communities, to accelerate the global “green” economy. The goal of the program is to inspire innovation from entrepreneurs and fund research entities working on critical environmental issues.

On October 28, 2014, Wells Fargo also launched the Innovation Incubator (IN2) program, a $10 million environmental grant for clean technology startups funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation and co-administered by the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to foster the development of early stage clean technologies for commercial buildings. 

To see a photo of Woodcrete, click here.

About the College of Architecture + The Arts:

The College of Architecture + The Arts engages our local and global communities by deploying the power of architecture + the arts to create, innovate, and inspire solutions to social, economic, and environmental problems. Offering 9 graduate and 8 undergraduate degrees within 7 academic departments, our more than 2,500 majors have the unique experience working with our award-winning faculty, in nationally ranked programs, in the heart of Miami — one of the country’s most vibrant, diverse, and creative cities!

For more information, visit us at

About FIU:

Florida International University is recognized as a Carnegie engaged university. It is a public research university with colleges and schools that offers more than 180 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs in fields such as engineering, international relations, architecture, law and medicine. As one of South Florida’s anchor institutions, FIU contributes $9.8 billion each year to the local economy. FIU is Worlds Ahead in finding solutions to the most challenging problems of our time. FIU emphasizes research as a major component of its mission. FIU has awarded over 200,000 degrees and enrolls more than 54,000 students in two campuses and three centers including FIU Downtown on Brickell, FIU@I-75, and the Miami Beach Urban Studios. FIU also supports artistic and cultural engagement through its three museums: the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum, the Wolfsonian-FIU, and the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. FIU is a member of Conference USA and has over 400 student-athletes participating in 18 sports.

For more information about FIU, visit

About Wells Fargo:

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.6 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,700 locations, 12,500 ATMs, and the internet (, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 29 on Fortune’s 2014 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. In 2013, the Company invested $275.5 million in grants to 18,500 nonprofits, and team members contributed more than 1.69 million volunteer hours around the country.

A leader in reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions and operating sustainably, Wells Fargo has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the U.S. Green Building Council. Since 2005, Wells Fargo has provided more than $28 billion in environmental finance, supporting sustainable buildings and renewable energy projects nationwide. This includes investments in more than 300 solar projects and 47 wind projects that generate enough clean renewable energy to power hundreds of thousands of American homes each year.

For more information, please visit: and the Wells Fargo Environmental Forum.

Media Contact
Company Name: FIU-College of Architecture + Arts
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