Chula Vista Academic Incubator Hub

Over the last 20 weeks, 18 undergraduate students have envisioned an innovation hub for Chula Vista, California.  As part of Chula Vista’s master plan, what was originally intended as a single university, has been imagined as a thriving research campus represented from multiple universities.  The studio began by developing a conceptual puzzles, a kind of master planning game, to engage the students at High Tech High Chula Vista, and was a pedagogical tool to help these architecture students imagine how a master plan may develop as needs change over time.  After our meeting with Chula Vista city officials, the vision for the first seed building for this campus became clearer: a unique concept of higher education project based learning mentored by entrepreneurs and local businesses co-located in the same building, while bringing the community into this lively mix through a conference center as community hub.  The studio collectively established a program for the seed building with powerful reflections on the role of the commons, maker spaces, incubator spaces etc.

In the first 10 weeks, each student proposed a vision of the project on their own only coming to a collective understanding of what this project could be after these 10 weeks.  Our study tour to Chicago was not only an inspiration, but in essence gave us a short course on academic incubators with architects at Gensler, Perkins + Will and SOM.

It took the previous 10 week quarter and field study trips to both San Diego and Chicago to truly understand the potential of this project.  Presented below are the studio’s  proposed projects for Chula Vista developed in an intense 9 weeks.  In these 9 weeks, students work together in teams of two through a rapid-fire design charrette coming up with new schematic concepts in the first two weeks from our trip to Chicago.  From here, these students were engaged in an intensive design development process understanding how these projects work at a both a conceptual as well as technical level.