Project Spotlight: The Ford District

​Integrated Design Studio: The Ford District

For over three years now, as part of the Integrated Design Studio of the fourth year’s undergraduate architecture program at NewSchool of Architecture and Design, under the leadership of 4th Year Level Coordinator Daniela Deutsch, we’ve started developing a new kind of architectural studio concept that integrates professional practice and academic pursuits thru a unique and dynamic collaboration between multiple parties from academia, the design profession, and real estate development.

This academic year (2016-2017), our efforts and intense interdisciplinary collaborations reached a new level of discourse. In cooperation with the Integrated Design Office Mackenzie and Intrinsic Ventures from Portland, Oregon, the task will be to create a vision and strategies for the development of a new rapidly growing neighborhood in the Central Eastside of Portland, in an ambitious collaboration between NewSchool students and expert practitioners from both cities.

Our complete collaborative team this year, consists of:

  • Mackenzie Inc. (Architecture/Engineering/Interiors/Planning)
  • Intrinsic Ventures in Portland
  • Glumac Engineers
  • KPFF Consulting Engineers
  • The Green Building Initiative
  • UCSD Structural Engineering Department
  • SDSU Civil Engineering Department
  • NewSchool of Architecture and Design faculty

The Integrated Design Studio aims to be part of the ongoing conversation about contemporary directions in urban design and architecture, as well as to disseminate the experience of the City of Portland area to other regions of the West Coast and their adaptation to local climate, cultural and economic conditions. In other words, lessons learned from other regions in our country shall be experienced and studied by our students to sharpen the understanding of customized, simple and innovative solutions in our city.

Project Timeline

The Integrated Design Studio will run over two quarters - fall quarter (October - December) and winter quarter (January -March). The studio consists of three main parts: Lectures by experts, technical workshops, and studio work. In addition, students will have an opportunity to participate in a three-day field trip, including visit of the sites, multiple lectures, as well as workshops and pin-ups with the Portland team that will give important feedback and impulses. Visits of similar state of the art green neighborhoods and highly performative buildings will provide further suggestions.

The studio combines the holistic urban and district planning with integrated design solutions on the building level, and addresses architecture and development, transit oriented urban areas, sustainable neighborhoods, and energy efficient building design. A mixture of commercial and residential development, infrastructure and high quality public areas are to be created. The scale of the development should base itself on existing developments and surrounding districts. The project ideal aim should develop into a viable strategy for new city communities, as well as communicate, via their technical systems, materiality and programmatic optimization, that architecture is capable to address current social and ecological challenges, and deliver an innovative solution.

The ultimate task is to create a new sustainable neighborhood in the Central Eastside of Portland, Oregon. Students will present their master plan and the scale model of the proposed new Ford District to public in April 2017, in San Diego and Portland.