A team of recent graduates from NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) successfully raised $60,067 to help fund a project for downtown San Diego that has received public support from city officials and the community for their innovative approach to revitalizing vacant lots with retrofitted shipping containers. The concept was developed at NSAD as a 2013 senior thesis project on “temporary architecture” solutions by Philip Auchettl, Jason Grauten, David Loewenstein and Mike Poage.
The Kickstarter fundraising campaign ended Oct. 13 to raise money that will go toward city fees, a conditional use permit, and site improvements such as installation of water, electrical and sewer lines for a section of downtown San Diego’s East Village area at 1102 Market Street.
"We thank all the people who have supported this project, and we are particularly grateful for the inspiration and professional input that we received as students at NewSchool of Architecture and Design where this idea was first developed,” said Jason Grauten. “This project, with its clear community support as evident by this successful campaign, demonstrates the leadership role that architects and designers have in developing innovative solutions to urban challenges.”
Envisioned with a lifespan of two to three years, the RAD Lab is a temporary “laboratory” urban infill project that offers sustainable solutions to vacant lots. The team of NSAD graduates envisions using retrofitted shipping containers to create an urban park in downtown San Diego’s East Village area that will incorporate a dog park, outdoor beer garden, a plaza with food trucks and an event space for residents and visitors. They see it as being a template to revitalize other unused areas around the country. The project idea was developed during a class the students took at NSAD that was taught by Instructor Jorge Ozorno on “Architect as Developer” and it became their senior thesis project under Instructor Chuck Crawford. Since graduating this year, three members of the team continued to work on developing the project. New team member Adam Jubela replaced Poage, who accepted a job offer with a firm.
The project demonstrates the opportunity NSAD students have to explore design ideas in an urban environment, and to apply their research and findings to the built environment either independently or through the firms they work at.