Joint Design Studio - October 2016

The joint design studio was a collaboration between the Department of Architecture at UC Berkeley (UCB) and the College of Architecture at Kuwait University (KU). The same course “Cross Cultural Mode of Design” was taught at both institutions and advocated a research-based design strategy that focused on understanding the culture and context of the host country. Students had to research the background of the host country while being unfamiliar with the cultural setting and not having direct access to the project site. This encouraged them to tackle the idea of designing elsewhere, experiencing first-hand the difference between distance and proximity in design.

The first part of the studio involved the design of a convention center and new headquarters for the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science (KFAS) in Kuwait City. In October 2016, fourteen UCB students traveled to Kuwait to present their designs to the College of Architecture at KU and then to the KFAS Board of Directors. KU students had in-person access to the project site so they performed an extensive site analysis and presented their findings to the UCB students. Due to a difference in academic schedules, the KU students started on the project a month after UCB students and, therefore, presented their final designs to KFAS in December 2016.

The second part of the studio reversed the cultural exploration by focusing on the design of an annex for KFAS in San Francisco, California. The group reconvened in May 2017 when the KU students traveled to Berkeley to visit the second project site and present their designs to UCB students and faculty.