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NewSchool’s Graduate Showcase Celebrates Human-Centered Sustainable Design

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Published on:

June 21, 2017


NewSchool’s Graduate Showcase Celebrates Human-Centered Sustainable Design

Media Contact:

Rachael Lighty


The NewSchool of Architecture & Design (NewSchool), an awarded architecture and design institution located in downtown San Diego’s East Village design district, is proud to announce its upcoming Graduate Showcase (GradShow) on Friday, June 23, 2017. The event will be held on the NewSchool campus, located at 1249 F Street, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m., and will feature more than 100 thesis projects from graduating undergraduate and graduate students. These projects, focused on human-centered design and recommendations for healthy, sustainable spaces, span the disciplines of architecture, construction management, media and product design, and interior architecture and design, and will feature large-scale renderings, models and digital media.

As art is inspired by society and culture, the 2017 thesis projects address a variety of current events and global concerns including sustainability, immigration, and political expression. Additionally, many student projects are inspired by and focus on local San Diego buildings and spaces, such as the area surrounding the Qualcomm Stadium, but also span across the U.S. and globally to countries such as Kenya, Jordan, Iran, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines.

“NewSchool’s GradShow is a solid representation of our talented graduates and their commitment to human-centered design through their work as ‘citizen architects,’ designing for ‘good’ as part of our institution’s Here for Good, by Design mission,” said Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, president and chief academic officer of NewSchool of Architecture & Design. “This annual tradition is a great way for families, friends and even potential employers to observe unique and creative projects, models and renderings, and contemplate recommendations to solve some of the City’s, and even the world’s, social, environmental and political issues, through conscious design.”

GradShow begins with an Employers Only Event in the afternoon from 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. where local companies and press are invited to view the work created by the talented individuals from NewSchool. This exclusive occasion serves as a reverse job fair-like atmosphere where opportunities for engagement and dialogue between students and prospective employers are reached. NewSchool’s GradShow will open to public at 6 p.m. and will include a special gathering for graduates and their families, friends, media and members of the community.

2017 GradShow Thesis


Some examples of the student thesis projects on display at the GradShow include, but are not limited to the following projects.

Christopher F Bockelman Fanatic Dogma: A critical analysis and approach to urban stadium design The goal of this thesis is to examine the issues which impact cities with the implementation of stadiums in urban areas. The end result was an exploration into the possible design solutions and an application of findings to a new stadium in San Diego.

Noura Bishay Green Network – Nolen Corridor – Park-to-Bay Project The Thesis study focuses on urban planning, wayfinding and placemaking adapting the “Park to Bay Project,” to connect parks as a way to connect and empower people. It explores how to connect Balboa Park to the Bay through 25th Street and Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy.

Matias Solimano Said Cali-Baja Guard Line: Defensive Systems for Sea Level Rise Effects in Baja California Coastal Communities This study investigates the risks and dangers to the coast of Baja California from storm surges, in the short term, and sea level rise, in the long term, and provides a broader look at the entire San Diego/Tiajuana mega region. These threats are currently putting thousands of coastal settlements at risk and represent a potential divide between local communities and coastal activities.

Jessica Perea Matos Urban Porosity Through Social Housing, Toward Community Engagement in Downtown San Diego There is a need for more affordable housing in San Diego. A high percentage of residential buildings are not affordable to people with low and moderate incomes. This study addresses the challenges of delivering affordable housing and explores how buildings can re-energize street-level activity and improve the quality of public spaces for the benefit of both the community and residents.

Golnar Haddad Aquatecture: Architecture Adaptation to Sea Level Rise This study examines rising sea levels and explores how coastal cities, such as San Diego, must plan for long-term resilience and harmony with the oceans.

Grace Tran Architecture of Tragedy, Architecture of Hope: A dignified home for displaced individuals living in refugee camps in Kenya This project dives into the development of a modular housing unit that is portable and durable and which can adapt and evolve with refugees through their transition from emergency shelter to semi-permanent shelter.

Laura Nering In[formation] This project reframes social identity through collective memory in a concurrently digital and physical environment. It envisions the integration of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and the physical environment.

Montserrat Fernandez-Servitje Implementing Sustainable Practices in Existing Buildings This is an in-depth look at the benefits of green building and the major barriers preventing green operation methods from being more broadly implemented. The project features a handbook of energy, water, and waste tips to help existing buildings quickly and efficiently become greener. The study focuses on San Diego County and incorporates the demographics of the area and provides information and recommendations specific to the climate.

Teresa Dominguez Healthy Learning Environments: Redesign of Emerson-Bandini Elementary School, San Diego Learning environments have not always responded to the needs of elementary school children. At times, school design prioritizes other elements without taking into consideration students’ learning. The purpose of this study is to investigate the variables which influence student performance. Children are also more active than adults and research demonstrates that the senses and cognitive abilities of children are still developing as they mature. Therefore, the project’s design solutions create flexible learning environments to enhance motor skills and promote concentration and tactile learning appropriate to the developmental stage of each child.

Chandana Savadatti Low Energy Residential Design– Cost Effective Approach, Mira Mesa, San Diego Today’s average building consumes more energy than needed, generating a large amount of waste and negatively impacting the environment. Excessive energy consumption by these buildings leads to the burning of fossil fuels and the depletion of natural energy resources. The study aims to reduce the negative impact on the environment by developing a thoughtful and cost-effective residential design that is adaptable to the regional and natural environment. This study will explore techniques to reduce energy consumption by making effective use of clean, renewable, and recycled energy resources. These design techniques would be customized for the regional climatic conditions of San Diego.

2017 Commencement

Following GradShow, NewSchool’s 32nd Commencement Ceremony will take place on Saturday, June 24 at Symphony Hall in San Diego, Calif. The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and celebrate 130 students who have completed or will complete their degree requirements from New School’s architecture, construction management and design studies programs.

For information on NewSchool’s Annual GradShow and Commencement, or to preview student work, coordinate coverage of the event or set up interviews with graduating students, please contact Rachael Lighty 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 through an emphasis on interdisciplinary and global design skills, industry collaborations and real-world projects. Programs include architecture, construction management, product design, media design, design studies, and interior architecture and design. NewSchool is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission. NewSchool’s Bachelor and Master of Architecture programs are accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). NewSchool is one of more than 70 institutions in 25 countries that comprise the Laureate International Universities network. Through collaborations with sister institutions in the Laureate network, including Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, NewSchool students are prepared to work in global and diverse organizations. For more information, visit