Design Studio Explores Concepts for Porto, Portugal Community Center With Architect Alvaro Siza

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Following their recent visit to Porto, Portugal, a group of NewSchool of Architecture and Design students is developing concept designs for a cultural and community center based on their on-site research and meetings with famed architect Alvaro Siza. As part of the unique global design studio project, Siza is providing ongoing feedback to the students during the Spring term.

The NewSchool 2nd year graduate students participating in the “Porto Studio” are: David Hoppel, Gwynn Beasley, Tom Quaas, Kevin Sander, Tyler Starow, Abdul Alhemiddi, Ammar Alammar, Meshaal Abanmi, Jeremy Kossack, Trang Nguyen, and Julia Cota. NewSchool Professor Tatiana Berger, who spent years working with the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Siza on multiple projects in Europe and the U.S., is leading the class.

The students initially went to Porto with the idea of collecting ideas for a new public library concept. After meetings with Siza, the project evolved to consider Porto’s plans for a cultural and community center that would educate the public about architecture and its production. The proposed center would include exhibition spaces, a library, auditorium, classrooms, archives, workshops, restaurant and cafe. It would also incorporate gardens and outdoor terraces, exhibition spaces for sculpture, as well as other outdoor community spaces. NewSchool students are developing ideas for two possible sites for the project: one in the center of Old Porto and another closer to the coast in a zone called “Foz” (part of Porto).

“This is a remarkable global design opportunity for NewSchool students to work with a renowned architect, Alvaro Siza, and to put into practice the design concepts they have learned and developed in San Diego,” said Berger. “International projects like this challenge students to explore different cultural perspectives and to consider the needs of local communities on a global scale.”

Preliminary design concepts were presented in mid-May and final presentations and renderings of the project will take place on June 11. Alvaro Siza will be reviewing the work produced by our students during the months of June and July.

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