UTSA + Overland Graduate Studio Fall 2023 Semester Launches

UTSA Studio Course Continues Focus on Binational River Conservation Project as a Model for Fostering Inclusive Community Engagement and Sustainable Design  

Following a successful Spring 2023 semester and summer break, the UTSA + Overland Graduate Advanced Technical Studio is underway for Fall 2023, welcoming back 15 UTSA School of Architecture graduate students from across Texas and around the world, under the guidance of Overland architects and adjunct professors, Logan Notestine and Tristan Andrews, who are continuing to lead the students through a unique studio experience at the intersection of academia and applied practice.  

Building upon last semester’s studio course that brought UTSA’s graduate students out of the classroom and into the community to learn about the Binational River Conservation Project between Laredo, Texas and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, and the potential it has to catalyze adjacent projects with positive social, cultural, economic and environmental impact across the both communities, the students and instructors kicked off the Fall semester with a recent trip to Laredo where students engaged with civic leaders, conservationists, and members of the surrounding communities from Laredo and Nuevo Laredo.  Held at the historic Laredo Center for the Arts last Friday, students had the opportunity to exhibit their work completed during the spring semester, featuring eight different solutions that explore key topics identified through previous binational civic/community forums. Open to the public, student teams gained real-world experience, sharing their thinking and work to solicit feedback from the community. On Saturday morning the students helped lead a community design charette alongside Overland collaborators Able City and the Rio Grande International Study Center (RGISC), both based in Laredo, with the goal of bringing the community into the conversation to gain greater understanding about the challenges facing five of the historic Laredo neighborhoods from connecting to and utilizing the river on a regular basis.  Through civic and community input, the students, Overland and our friends from Able City and RGISC, listened closely to attendees and helped identify potential solutions to address and ultimately overcome the barriers and challenges preventing connection to the Rio Grande, which is the life source for over 6 million people across the region.

Overland is proud of our continued partnership with UTSA faculty and staff to bring innovative, high quality learning experiences to students across diverse disciplines from architecture, planning and design to the data sciences, cyber security and beyond. The UTSA + Overland Graduate Advanced Technical Studio sets a new precedent for what a firm-led academic studio can be and allows us the privilege of walking with the next generation of architecture professionals to share, teach and influence the values of inclusive engagement and important considerations and complexities of smart, responsive design on the places and lives of the people and communities we serve through sustainable architecture, master planning, and urban design. We look forward to sharing more from the UTSA + Overland Studio throughout the semester.

Special thanks to Overland Senior Architect, Barbara Warren, and the team at Able City and The Rio Grande International Study Center for helping coordinate this event, and to all the stakeholders and community members that took the time to engage with the student’s last weekend! 

Learn more about the Binational River Conservation Project here.

Written by Overland Partners. All photos are copyrighted and owned by Overland Partners.

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