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Daniela Deutsch Dishes on Her Hope for Her Students and for San Diego

Written By: Sarah Hood
Photographed By: Bhadri Kubendran

Expert: Daniela Deutsch
Credentials: Lecturer of Architecture, NewSchool of Architecture and Design


Q: How did you first develop an interest in architecture?

Daniela Deutsch: My father was an urban planner when I was growing up in Romania. Seeing him work in this field was my inspiration from the beginning. I loved to draw, and I was very interested in buildings and in creating spaces. By the time I was 12, I knew I wanted to be an architect. I’ve noticed that many of my students and my fellow architects chose this path early in life like I did!

Q: What led you to become a professor of architecture?

DD: I graduated from the Darmstadt University of Technical Design in Germany with two years of experience as a teacher’s aide. After I earned my master’s degree, I started teaching as an adjunct lecturer at various universities in Germany and in the United States when I came here back in 2001. I continued to pursue teaching even as I worked full-time as an architect and project designer, and I slowly began to move away from the corporate side of my practice so that I could become an assistant professor.  

Q: Tell me a little bit about your role as a professor of architecture and the classes that you teach.

DD: I am a fourth year level coordinator for undergraduates at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design in San Diego, and I supervise the design projects as part of that role. One of my main focuses within my classes merging architecture with interdisciplinary practices so that my students develop an innovative and collaborative approach to building design—one that centers less upon becoming a ‘master designer’ and more on working as a team and networking with individuals from related fields such as engineering.

Q: I’ve been told that you specialize in designing for sustainability and healthy living spaces. What exactly does that entail?

DD: It entails incorporating the fundamentals of energy-efficient design into my courses and demonstrating how society’s need for sustainable energy should touch upon all aspects of architecture. Throughout my architecture and environmental science classes, I help my students realize that they, as citizens and future designers, are responsible for meeting the demand for ecologically reasonable buildings. I have developed my studios and curriculum a way that will encourage new architects to respect the environment and use natural resources wisely.

Q: What do you hope your undergraduate students take away from your classes?

DD: In all my classes, I want to strike a balance between teaching, research, and practice so that my students can function effectively within all three areas. I also would like students to realize that even though technical skills are important in this field, there are other aspects that they need to keep in mind. I want them to develop critical thinking skills so that they can understand the key issues within the world of architecture and have informed positions. My greatest hope for them is that they will become confident designers and big thinkers who work optimistically, provocatively and creatively.

Q: What sort of an impact do you hope to have within San Diego’s community of architectural experts?

DD: I’m trying to take what I’ve learned from other places, both here in America and abroad, and apply that knowledge within San Diego in order to build a more energy-efficient community. I am convinced that my current and future projects will help other architects come up with innovative solutions and show cities how to make choices that benefit the environment.

Rule the Schools: Daniela Deutsch has taught in Germany, is multilingual and has held exhibitions in both Germany and San Diego.

Eco-Friendly: She and her students are currently working with professional architects on a project that will develop 30 blocks of energy efficient buildings in downtown National City.

NewSchool of Architecture and Design
1249 F St
San Diego, CA 92101

The Future is Here: Eco-Friendly Architecture are Coming to San Diego