Architecture Students from Spain and U.S. Collaborate on New Strategies for San Diego's Urban Area

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NewSchool of Architecture and Design Summer Studio on San Diego Urban Strategies Includes Students from Sister School, Universidad Europea de Madrid

A summer studio at NSAD included students from both NSAD and the Universidad Europea de Madrid. Photo credit: Michael Stepner

A NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) summer studio that included architecture students from the Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM) gave students from the two schools an opportunity to learn from each other in an international classroom environment while exploring urban strategies to connect San Diego’s Balboa Park area to the waterfront. The NSAD summer studio was taught by NSAD instructors Michael Stepner and Frank Wolden, along with instructor Ramiro Losada of UEM’s School of Architecture.

The UEM students joined NSAD students to work on projects related to the I.D.E.A .District in downtown San Diego, which is a proposed concept to create an innovative, jobs-driven design and education cluster in East Village where NSAD is located. Students in the studio developed ideas to connect the I.D.E.A. District with nearby Balboa Park and the waterfront, and considered ways to integrate San Diego City College more closely with the East Village area.

“The studio course created a global classroom experience for both the NSAD and the UEM students, allowing them to hear from different perspectives and to evaluate alternative ways of approaching design and architecture,” said Michael Stepner, one of the studio instructors. Among the ideas developed by the students in the studio were concepts for San Diego’s PETCO baseball parking lots to allow for temporary uses when the stadium is not in use, and a proposal that integrates architecture with social networks to encourage greater interaction in the urban area.

The UEM students in the NSAD summer studio were participating in a one-year tri-continental architecture master’s program offered through UEM. These students started their studies at UEM, where they were introduced to architectural themes they could apply to their studies abroad, and then gained experience as architecture interns at Tongji University Architectural Design and Research Institute in Shanghai before concluding their studies at NSAD. All three universities are part of the Laureate International Universities network, which includes more than 60 accredited campus-based and online institutions of higher education serving more than 740,000 students.

The UEM tri-continental degree program is currently only available for students enrolled at UEM; however, NSAD students are eligible for admission. In addition to several faculty exchanges, eight UEM students studied at NSAD in the 2011–2012 academic school year and two NSAD students are currently studying at UEM.

About NewSchool of Architecture and Design
NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD), founded in 1980, is located in San Diego, California. NSAD is accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS). ACICS is listed as a nationally recognized accrediting agency by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. NSAD’s Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Architecture and Executive Master of Architecture programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NSAD also offers a pre-professional Bachelor of Arts in Architecture, a Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts, a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management, a Master of Construction Management and a Master of Science in Architecture. NSAD was ranked among the top 10 undergraduate architecture schools in the western United States, according to the DesignIntelligence report “America’s Best Architecture & Design Schools 2012.” For more information, visit

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Anna Cearley
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