Project Spotlight: Nepal Studio

Undergraduate Architecture Design Studio: Nepal Studio

In April 2015, Nepal suffered a devastating earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 people, injuring 22,000 people and damaged or destroyed nearly 800,000 homes, with entire villages being swept away.

NewSchool architecture faculty member Joseph Kennedy who specializes in sustainable building, ecological design, and community development wanted to help and recognized an important opportunity to collaborate with his students to help solve this humanitarian crisis. With an eye on creating a positive social impact, Joseph encourages his students to design for the 99% of the world’s population and to seek out projects not just locally but globally. He recognized that rebuilding all 800,000 homes was too great a task and that the locals needed proper education that would teach affordable and durable building practices that could then be implemented in Nepal, by the locals.

In spring 2016, the 4th year undergraduate architecture students worked to develop a design for “Neeta’s Village” in Panauti, Nepal, about 20 miles from the capital city of Kathmandu. With Joseph’s guidance, the students designed a temple, a learning center and four model homes that demonstrated the different durable building techniques needed for various terrains. Throughout the project, students learned not only about sustainable design practices but also about Nepalese culture which included conducting interviews with local Hindu priests. As a part of the project, Joseph worked with a San Diego-based nonprofit Bishwa Seva Foundation to raise money for the project which is set to begin building in late 2016.

Read more about the Nepal project in San Diego Union Tribune article.