Italian Designer/Architect of Luxury Retail Shops Leaves His Mark in San Diego

Joining Giachi – NewSchool of Architecture and Design” is the second in a series of videos that follows the experiences of renowned Italian architect and designer Paolo Giachi, who recently taught an interior design course at NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) in San Diego.


Giachi, who came to NSAD as a visiting professor from Domus Academy in Milan, Italy, has more than 16 years of experience in designing retail stores for luxury fashion brands in locations around the world. This video looks at his recent time in Southern California and NSAD in fall, 2012. The class he taught at NSAD was offered through the newly-formed Domus Academy School of Design at NSAD, which is being developed in collaboration with Domus Academy in Milan, Italy.

This interior design/architecture class at NSAD represents the first step in the school’s long-range plan to develop additional design-related programs, starting with a Bachelor of Interior Design that will be offered in 2013-2014.

Video link:

For more information about NSAD interior design programs:

For more information on Paolo Giachi:

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Solar Decathalon

Join NSAD Professor Luisa Schultz 1 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29 at the NSAD auditorium tolearn more about the Solar Decathalon Competition, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The competition “challenges collegiate teams to design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy efficient and attractive.”

Get your sun on San Diego!

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NewSchool Students Built Temporary Structure in Lake Cuyamaca

About 40 NewSchool of Architecture and Design students, most of them undergraduate students in the architecture program, went to Lake Cuyamaca Oct. 27 to build a temporary structure as part of their mid-term project. The students first developed a concept to create a 64 square-foot shelter of cardboard, wood, canvas and piping. Then they went to the Lake Cuyamaca area in San Diego County 5with their five studio instructors and the material that they used to build the shelter. It took them about half an hour to develop  the structure. The site location was chosen in order to give students experience in understanding how structures they develop interact with different environmental situations, such as climate, fire damage aftermath and the natural environment. Working under a tight deadline of 48 hours, the project also challenged students’ understanding of materiality and system integration while engaging their organization, leadership and critical thinking skills.

This was a great event and we are sorry that we do not have any videos about it. This is why one of the students proposed using surveillance drones to tape the whole event next time. They can be easily found online and we already ordered some for the next time!

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Construction Management Video Series

Check out this Construction Management video series created by CM faculty member Rabi Sidawi.

Here is a brief bio on professor Sidawi:

Rabi Sidawi has been practicing architecture since 1988. He has worked in Los Angeles, Honolulu and Atlanta. Sidawi is currently an architect and Senior AEC Solutions Consultant in Atlanta. Sidawi holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the American University of Beirut and a Masters of Architecture from Tulane University. He has a wide range of teaching and speaking experience. In 2007 Autodesk Revit recognized Sidawi as having received the highest ratings from students in the Southeast US for instructor performance, and he was named ATC Authorized Training Center Instructor of the Year.

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Habitat for Humanity Project

NSAD students have been helping Habitat for Humanity at their Imperial Beach and National City sites. Here are some photos showing the work they did at their most recent project. The Habitat for Humanity work gives NSAD students a chance to not only do some great volunteer work for the community, but to also get them involved in sustainable design on the ground level. Students also had a chance to witness a USGBC LEED Platinum certification testing for one of the projects. The Habitat for Humanity effort was organized by NSAD instructor Luisa Schultz, and participants included 4th/5th year and 3rd/4th year undergraduate architecture students.


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Got the FAFSA Blues? YouTube Tutorials to the Rescue!

Financial Aid, regardless of the form it takes, is a process almost all students go through as they begin their college career. One of the biggest frustrations I hear from students and parents alike is about the paperwork. Now the paperwork may not be going away anytime soon, but it doesn’t have to be an obstacle to getting the valuable aid your need to be successful in college! This is where YouTube, while many times a fun distraction, can actually be a constructive resource.

If you need help completing the 2012-2013 FAFSA, or maybe need to make corrections, take a look at the YouTube playlist below. I highly recommend watching all of the videos in order, unless you’re a seasoned FAFSA veteran. If you plan on attending or even considering attending NSAD, please add at our School Code 030439 when you complete 2012-2013 FAFSA online. This will help us assist you better.

Lastly, make sure to always contact and work closely with your Financial Aid Office at the school you choose to attend. While YouTube is a great resource for quick help at home, your Financial Aid Office will have the final word on your eligibility for financial aid.

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Food Carts = Architecture?

A design studio class at NewSchool of Architecture and Design (NSAD) headed by instructor Hector Perez explored the unusual typology of human-propelled food carts. The project was done in collaboration with another NSAD design studio lead by NSAD instructor Casey Mahon that explored digital manipulations of surface. The integrated assignments challenged the students (in their second year of studies in the Bachelor of Architecture program) to explore the interaction possibilities of food carts in a parking lot near San Diego’s downtown ball park.

NewSchool of Architecture and Design ( second year student Arnulfo Rodriguez created a unique tamale food cart as part of his architecture design studio.

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Is it a ‘Do’ or is it a ‘Don’t’?: Tips for a Successful Study Abroad Experience in the USA

Deciding to study in the United States is huge! From picking the right university to applying for a visa, then arriving on time, meeting new friends and finally settling into your new American life, there is a lot to consider and accomplish before you ever set foot on campus. What many students coming to America do not think about before arriving is what is a “Do!” or a “Don’t!” in their new life in the States. A “Do!” would be an action you take that is appropriate or even encouraged, while a “Don’t!” is an action that can hurt your ability to fit in, make friends and succeed in class. Take a look at the following quiz. What would be a “Do!”? What would be a “Don’t!”? You might be surprised how different life is in America!

(The answer key is at the bottom of the page.)

  1. Your American classmate gives you beautifully-wrapped gift for your birthday. You are so excited that you tear open the paper around gift in front of him, throwing paper on the ground and making a mess.
  2. You made plans to meet with your American classmates to discuss your design project for 4:30pm at a café. You arrive at 4:40.
  3. After a delicious dinner at a restaurant, you get the bill of $20. The service and food was excellent, so you give a $2 tip.
  4. You are invited to a party of a famous architecture firm in the US. When you meet the senior partner of the firm’s very small wife, you shake her hand softly and look down.
  5. You are eating soup at American friend’s house. This delicious soup is very hot and in a small bowl. So you pick it up and slurp the soup slowly.
  6. It is the weekend and you are at the park with friends. An American classmate of the opposite sex sees you, runs up and gives you a hug. You hug him/her back.
  7. You have a cold and feel terrible. Because your nose is running, you bring tissues to wipe it in class. While sitting in class, you take out your tissue and blow REALLY hard into your tissue making a loud sound.
  8. You are sitting in class when your best friend from your country calls you with awesome news. You quickly answer it and say, “I can’t talk right now! I’m in class!” and hang up.

Answer Key

  1. It’s a “Do”! When Americans give a gift, they expect you to open it in front of them and tear open the paper. If you don’t, Americans might think that you are not happy to receive it or that you are not thankful.
  2. It’s a “Don’t”! Although being 10 minutes for a social meeting is usually ok, Americans try to be punctual for important meetings for school and work.
  3. It’s a “Don’t”! Restaurants servers usually expect a 15% to 20% tip for good service, so $3 to $4 is enough.
  4. It’s a “Don’t”! American’s shake hands strongly, even when they are small, female, elderly or delicate. They also like to look each other in the eyes. If you do not, they will think you do not like them or are not truthful.
  5. It’s a “Don’t”! American’s eat soup with it sitting on the table. They also think the only sounds that should be heard are talking!
  6. It’s a “Do”! Americans who know each other from school or social situations, and have met each other more than 2 or times, might want to hug you if they see you in public. It does not mean that they want to date you or that they are crazy. They just like you. Period. Hug him/her back.
  7. It’s a “Don’t”! When Americans have a cold with a running nose, they either blow very quietly into their tissue or go to the bathroom to blow harder.
  8. It’s a “Don’t”! Why is your mobile phone on in the first place? Turn it off!

Click here to find out how you can study at NewSchool of Architecture and Design!

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Tips for writing your scholarship essay

Before you start writing: form a strategy:



Possible Review Committee

Previous recipients

Other students

Other faculty

2) What is the Purpose of the Scholarship Essay?

To convince the reader(s) to give you $$$ so the essay has a thesis:

You should award this scholarship $$ to me because…(not merely a list of how/why you meet the criteria).  Everything in the essay should support this thesis statement.

3) Who is the intended audience?



Committee Members

Professionals in a particular field

4) What is the appropriate tone/style?

Imagine your essay as your voice and as your style of clothing/dress. How would you sound/look/dress if it was an in-person conversation between you and the readers?

Formal-Professional/ Academic administration – Suit and tie

Semi-Formal-student/academic – Slacks/Skirt/Dress Pants

Casual-friend – Jeans and t-shirt

5) Form an outline

Structure tells a story in a linear, logical manner.This may or not be a linear responses to the prompt. Demonstrate a creative way to meet the criteria.

6) Avoid Pitfalls:

Basic Grammar / Spelling errors, etc.

Not following directions.


Doesn’t respond to prompt or format

Doesn’t meet basic criteria or address personal shortfalls: GPA, course requirement, etc.


Arrogant: Bragging            Confident

Insecure: Begging             Humble

Rude: Offensive                Mindful

Selfish: ME ME ME           Inclusive

7) Get a second/third pair of eyes for editing.

Brief your reader(s) on the goal of essay

Provide reader(s) with specific criteria requirements

Share specific concerns about draft with reader(s)

Write a letter that you are proud of and remember to be human – your readers will appreciate it.

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Madrid – Observations by Stepner

Mike Stepner, Faculty Coordinator at NewS chool, is spending 5 weeks at the Universidad Europea de Madrid in Madrid, Spain (both UEM and NSAD are part of the Laureate International Universities network). NSAD encourages students to consider international opportunities during their academic careers, and Mike shares with us his perspective of learning abroad in these occasional reports from Spain:

The city of Madrid has a population of about 3 million people with another approximately 3 million in the metropolitan area.  Like San Diego it has experienced rapid growth since WWII, and, like San Diego, much of that growth has gone to suburban areas–in a “leapfrog” pattern.

But that is where the comparisons stop. Madrid and its suburbs are very intensely built-up–6-8 story mid-rise residential development. San Diego is mostly single family houses.

[On a side note, another direct connection that Madrid and San Diego have is the Law of the Indies. This was the city planning directive that King Phillip of Spain decreed for all the Spanish Colonies in the “New World” – and San Diego was laid out in accordance with these rules. The street pattern in old town which still exists and can also be found in parts of Midway and Mission Hills, including the location of the plaza and the Governor’s house, which all follow this pattern.]

Development in Madrid in some ways reminds one of parts of the residential areas of Manhattan, but not quite as tall. The 6-8 story buildings line every street, all built to the sidewalk line, and the ground floor of every building includes a commercial aspect. The commercial portion could be something like the Albertson’s near school, but the same building could also include small shops not much bigger than my office. It could also include an auto dealership and a gas station–with the pumps located at the edge of the sidewalk- so you parallel park and fill your tank or drive on the driveway into the building where your car can be worked on.

Parts of the city, while at the same scale, bear more resemblance to Manhattan’s upper east and west sides next to Central Park. One of the things that make the intensity of development work is the public realm, the small and large parks, the small open spaces formed by the diagonal streets cutting through the street grid and the wide sidewalks lined with trees and street lights and benches.  This is due in large part to the culture. Madrid is a walking city. People stroll and then stop for a coffee or a beer or a sangria. Every restaurant and bar has a sidewalk café – not as formal as in San Diego, just chairs and tables set out on the sidewalk. Some have umbrellas and some have temporary shelters, but most are just aluminum tables and chairs that get set out at lunch–after 1pm and get stacked up after the dinner hour–about 12am.

All the bars are “bar-cafeteria” serving coffee and Spanish breakfast in the morning–Coffee con Leche, pastries, tomato salsa and olive oil on toast and the ubiquitous ham and cheese sandwich–which along with olives comes with every glass of beer or wine.  At lunch and at dinner the bars all have their own variety of Tapas.

Another factor in the workability of the density is the provision of infrastructure. The Metro bus and subway system are extensive, crisscrossing the city making it easier to get anywhere in a short period of time. The stations are clean, open and airy and safe. You do not feel like you are going into a basement like you do in lots of cities.

In the 1980′s the city of Madrid like many European Cities followed the lead of the U.S. and started designing for the car, freeways were built and some of the older Boulevards were adapted for the car. But this was accompanied by expansion of public transit and pedestrian improvements. To accommodate the car and the need for parking, some of the narrower streets were modified to allow diagonal parking on one side, parallel parking on the other, ten foot sidewalks on both sides and ten foot travel way for cars and trucks–an American traffic engineer would have apoplexy.

Historically the Rio Madrid was the edge of the city and became an industrial area. With the post WWII growth the city expanded to the other side of the river and the industry moved to outlying areas. Following the American model the city built a freeway along the river’s edge on both sides of the river. [I-5 was originally proposed to replace Harbor Drive in San Diego] Ten years ago a new mayor made part of his platform the undergrounding of the roads-like Boston’s “Big Dig” and cover it with a park like Chicago’s Millennium Park. This has been completed and on Friday I am to speak to a design class that has been working with this project about how they do infrastructure in the U.S.

Universidad Europa de Madrid

The world is changing, over half the world’s population lives in urban areas. Demographers predict that this will increase to 75 or 80% in the next 20 years and architects, landscape architects, urbanists and others involved in the design of the built environment will have to approach the issues differently than we have up to now.

Providing the opportunity for students to study abroad and to see the good, the bad and the ugly and apply the lessons learned to the urban situation is critical. Madrid and U.E.M. are good places to start.

On Friday I joined and architectural history class with Prof. Alberto Garcia Garin who was at NSAD last spring. He was taking his class on a tour of the old city and showing them why it came about and how it evolved into the modern city. A tour not unlike I have given downtown–except he covered 500 years where I only have to do 150.

And like other classes at U.E.M., the class was in English. I had thought up to then that the reason the program was in English was because of the dominance of the English language as the international language of business, which is true. But there is another reason.  The UEM degree is recognized throughout the European Union, and when architecture students receive the diploma for the Masters Degree, the also receive an architectural license which allows them to practice anywhere in the E.U. So UEM gets students from all over the EU and the world, all speaking many different languages. The one language they have in common is English and UEM requires incoming students to get a passing TOFEL score.

After the tour on Friday, Alberto gave his students their mid-term exam. Traveling back to the campus to give the exam was not practical, the campus being 20 miles away. It was about 7:30 p.m., a time we might equate with about 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon, so Alberto decided to give the test at a restaurant that would be almost empty at that time of day–happy hour not starting until 8pm and early dinners until 9 pm.

He took the students to the nearest McDonalds. The counter where you order looked much like any McDonalds, but the rest of it did not, no plastic chairs with Formica tables, no high fluorescent lighting to make you eat fast–the place looked like something out of the latest issue of Metropolis Magazine on high end restaurant design. We are not asking for enough from these places.

Some other things to consider:

—Studios. The students do not have places to work 24/7. The studio is a room where there are large tables, but it is only used for discussions with the instructor, desk crits, pin-ups and places for the students to collaborate. The students work at home. The faculty is envious of our situation.

—Class Hours. The students have the same requirements as our students for work outside of class: for every hour in class two hours outside of class. How they accomplish this is something I have to figure out. Classes start at 8:30 am and run until 8:00 pm in the evening, giving people time to get home for dinner. They do take a two hour break for lunch from 1-3 pm [stores close from 2-5 pm] and this may count for the outside of class time and many do not have classes every day–yet they have more contact hours in their program than we do.

—General Education. Most European schools do not have GE as part of a professional course of study. And there are only requirements for Professional Electives in the Masters Program. This could be a big gap in the program and students may not get the background about what shapes architecture and community.

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