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NewSchool Partners with Industry Leaders to Revitalize National City, CA

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Published on:

December 21, 2017


NewSchool Partners with Industry Leaders to Revitalize National City, CA

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NewSchool of Architecture & Design (NewSchool) announced an ambitious collaboration between the institution and several architecture, engineering, design and real estate development consultants in San Diego to revitalize the downtown of National City, located in San Diego County, California. NewSchool students and faculty will collaborate with the City of National City, the American Institute of Architects, Glumac Engineers, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Mackenzie Inc., Sillman Wright Architects, the San Diego State University (SDSU) Civil Engineering Department, University of California San Diego (UCSD) Structural Engineering Department, and Malik Infill Development.

NewSchool’s Integrated Design Studio is in its fifth year and, under the direction of faculty member Daniela Deutsch, has proposed new, sustainable designs, aimed to stimulate economic revitalization, in cities such as Portland, Seattle and Austin. This year, more than 70 undergraduate architecture students will collaborate over the next several months with a variety of municipal and industry partners to create a vision and strategies for the development of a new, sustainable urban neighborhood in downtown National City. The main focus of the studio will be to create visions and identify design strategies for the development of the National City Downtown area, following as well as enhancing its new Specific Plan strategies. Ultimately, following an in depth urban analysis and master plan phase, each student team will design an exemplary city block, which holistically takes into consideration the entire neighborhood and its immediate surroundings.

“This project represents the best of the aspirations of the NewSchool learning experience,” said Marvin J. Malecha, president and chief academic officer for NewSchool. “It begins with the optimism of engaging the community in a meaningful manner and continues by engaging design professionals and academics in a multidisciplinary team to guide students. This approach represents the DNA of the NewSchool community. We are proud to work in our own local community this year and have a positive impact on such an important city in San Diego County.”

Faculty leader, Daniela Deutsch shared, “We see the pedagogical advances for this year’s challenge, on a variety of different levels. The close interaction of our students with The City of National City representatives, developers, as well as the American Institute of Architects (AIA), as part of Housing the Next 1 Million San Diego County Charrette, offers students the opportunity to be exposed and to participate in the interactive exchanges between the developer, architect, and the city. We cannot imagine an integrated design approach without such competent partners like Glumac and KPFF. We rely on their expertise in integrated design, and therefore are very grateful that this collaboration has become so strong.”

National City is a 140-year old city on San Diego Bay with a population of 58,582 spread over 9.12 square miles. With an average income below California’s median level, National City is a densely populated, diverse, and growing city. The project is charged with creating ideas for growth and development that meet the needs of the city and the residents.

“National City stands at the threshold of a changing world of opportunities that calls for action,” said Brett Tullis, principal architect at Sillman Wright Architects. “This is an incredibly unique opportunity, and the students stand ready to imagine new and exciting ideas that challenge the status quo of the current state of our failing infrastructure. As one of the many professional collaborators, our goal is to work with the students to focus and hone good ideas into great ideas. We need more of this type of collaboration between education and practice that will ultimately reveal the new ideas that we need to reshape the fabric of not only National City but San Diego as well, for the myriad of challenges of sustainability, affordability and equity. It is the next generation of architects and designers coming up that is challenged with making our cities work and we need to help them be successful, because if they win, we all win.”

The complete collaborative team consists of:

• The City of National City

• The American Institute of Architects

• Glumac – Engineers for a Sustainable Future

• KPFF Consulting Engineers

• Sillman Wright Architects

• Mackenzie Inc.

• San Diego State University Civil Engineering Department

• UCSD, Structural Engineering Department

• Malik Infill Development

• NewSchool Studio Instructors – Daniela Deutsch, Amin Espandiari, Alicia Lafferty, Julio Medina and Jeff Troutman

• NewSchool students

“National City welcomes the students, and future leaders, of NewSchool to dream big about creating A National City, said Brad Raulston, Deputy City Manager and Planning Director, National City. “National City seeks to become a nationally recognized model that shows how small jurisdictions inside of large metropolitan areas can implement innovative solutions to pressing issues such as global climate change, population growth, regional coordination, social equity and well-being, resource conservation, public health, education, and economic vitality. National City strives to approach these issues by becoming a sustainable community that reduces its impact on the environment, maintains economic health, and promotes a high quality of life for all.”

Mitchell Dec, Associate Principal, Glumac, stated, “Integrated design is essential to delivering world class, high performance sustainable buildings to balance first cost, aesthetic, and real world performance. However, implementing this into practice can often prove difficult due to time constraint, differing personalities, and personal commitment to make it happen. Through better understanding of ourselves and our design partners, it is possible to break down these barriers. This year’s curriculum will provide the NewSchool class with the experience to go beyond the design and understand the impacts an architect’s decision make to maximizing the sustainable design influence one can create.”

NewSchool’s Integrated Design Studio will run over two quarters, from October to December, and then from January to March, and is only available to fourth-year architecture students. The studio consists of three main parts: lectures by experts, technical workshops, and studio work. The lectures are part of NewSchool’s Lecture Series which features renowned leaders and experts in the architecture and design industry, as well as NewSchool faculty, and focus on various aspects of the integrated design process.

For more information on NewSchool’s Integrated Design Studio collaboration for National City, please contact Jessica Nielsen at

For more information on NewSchool of Architecture & Design, visit

About NewSchool of Architecture & Design

Located in San Diego’s design district, NewSchool of Architecture & Design prepares students for career success in design fields with an emphasis on human-centered design, including interdisciplinary and global design skills, industry collaborations and real-world projects. Programs include architecture, construction management, product design, media design, and interior architecture & design. NewSchool is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. NewSchool offers Bachelor and Master of Architecture programs, accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). One of more than 70 institutions in 25 countries that comprise the Laureate International Universities network, New School prepares students to successfully work in global and diverse organizations. For more information, visit