Students in the Savannah College of Art & Design’s department of architecture are working with the city of London’s development planning arm to redesign a 1960s neighborhood in the U.K. capital.
Design for London, a division of the Greater London Authority, is allowing SCAD students to craft proposals for revamping an area near a heavily populated network of intersections.
As described in a brief crafted by Design for London for consultants, the area is brimming with potential because it contains some famous London crossroads.
But heavy foot and vehicle traffic, “poor air quality” and “some buildings that have not stood the test of time well” keep the area from contributing maximum value to the city, the briefing said.
A group of 12 students toured the neighborhood during a two-week trip to London in late August. They also met with planners and an architectural firm the city has hired to make the same sort of recommendations they’ll have to come up with by the end of the semester.
Students were given full access to the proposals submitted by the architectural firm.
Scott Singeisen, chair of SCAD’s architecture department, said the faculty undertook the trip to help the students fulfill an urban design requirement and learn how to apply their studio knowledge in real-life situations.
Now, a total of 24 graduate and undergraduate students are working on the plans, which they will submit to Design for London through a variety of Internet applications.
They’ll make final presentations through online video and voice communication service Skype, but Mr. Singeisen has created Google Web pages where students can upload their work periodically and get immediate feedback from judges.
SCAD has a campus in Lacoste, France, and Mr. Singeisen said the London trip helped broaden the European presence and global focus of the institution.
It also validates the reputation of SCAD and its students internationally, he said.
“My architecture graduates are sought after for their ability of integrating theory and practice, integrating technology with design sense,” he said.
But familiarity with working in a global environment has become “absolutely necessary” for today’s graduates, he said.
“We’re looking for opportunities to bring in international influence more regularly into the studio,” he told GlobalAtlanta.
That sentiment was amplified during the London trip, when Mr. Singeisen ran into a former student who is now working in New York for Gensler, a global architecture and design firm based in San Francisco.
The former student said that applicants who explicitly said they’re willing to relocate internationally were given a second look over those who didn’t.
For more information about the program, visit http://www.scad.edu/architecture.
To learn more about the trip, e-mail Melissa Wheeler at email@example.com.