NSAD Students, Faculty Develop Designs to Convert Abandoned Bus in Mexico Into a Library


NSAD Students, Faculty Develop Designs to Convert Abandoned Bus in Mexico Into a Library

Project highlights opportunities for NSAD students in Design Clinic courses

NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) students developed concepts for converting an abandoned bus into a community center and library for a rural community near Mexico’s San Ignacio Lagoon. The project, led by Landscape Architecture program chair Leslie Ryan, is part of Design Clinic, a course that brings real clients and projects into the classroom.

Concepts developed by Design Clinic students Victor Rocha, Alejandro Lorente, Carolina Turmo and Millaray Vega were presented to the community and other project stakeholders Adjunct faculty member Carlos Graizbord has also been working on the project with through his own design proposal.

The abandoned bus is located near the San Ignacio Lagoon, a breeding ground and nursery for migratory gray whales, and close to an elementary school in a rural community about 500 miles south of San Diego. The NSAD student design includes an interior space equipped with shelves and nooks to hold books and media materials. The project also integrates sustainability measures, such as the installation of roof ponds, a low-tech and effective means of collecting solar energy that was developed by solar pioneer Harold Hay in the late 1970s.

The NSAD designs were inspired by a service project developed by two sophomores at Pacific Ridge School in Carlsbad. The high-school students learned about the San Ignacio community’s desire to utilize the abandoned bus and developed a fundraising initiative through the National City-based International Community Foundation to turn the bus into a library for the schoolchildren of San Ignacio. Word got around and the bus inspired designs by both Graizbord and the Design Clinic students.

The real-world challenge provided an exercise for the NSAD students to consider how the environment interacts with a built space. For example, they evaluated how the desert sun and wind interact with the abandoned bus. They suggested moving the bus slightly to lessen the sun’s impact and outlined a design with a wire mesh roof that stretches from the bus to a proposed concrete wall. The wall would also serve as a place to hold movie screenings for the community. The bus design envisioned by Graizbord includes a sloping roof that would cover the bus top and extend laterally to create shade for the bus. The San Ignacio community has expressed an interest in incorporating the efforts by both Graizbord and the students into transforming the bus into a library and community center.