The project, completed during a special studio course offered in collaboration with the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), offers a model for cities around the world to redevelop suburban areas to become high quality sustainable urban areas. Video renderings of the project can be viewed at the NSAD YouTube channel. An online book is also available: "
NSAD-BIG Studio: String Theory."
The NSAD-BIG design studio was led by Kai-Uwe Bergmann, a partner with BIG, which has been involved in architecture projects in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the United States. The BIG firm, based in Copenhagen and New York, is considered to be one of the leading companies in innovative, contemporary architecture, and the firm has won international awards and recognition.
The design studio project, co-taught by NSAD instructor and local architect Frank Wolden, was inspired by the decision the San Diego County regional planning agency SANDAG to approve an extension of the light rail from San Diego's Old Town area to the University of California, San Diego. That planned extension is expected to be in operation by 2018, and it connects with an already-established transportation network that reaches the Mexican border. The NSAD exercise focuses on seven proposed sites along the extended transportation corridor.
Bergmann writes in the book's introduction: The vision is ambitious and long-ranged, looking at the overall development of the San Diego region with a focus on diversity, the social, and "the green" in contemporary cities. The vision, which we are calling "String Theory"… proposes a new urban corridor that will not only link existing neighborhoods together but also serve as an armature for brand new typologies of development. Thereby it introduces a new basic structure for the San Diego region and creates a basis for massive urban renewal."