Pedagogy + Geodesign

Additional Resources
  • For pedagogy-based publications, click here to access complete list of articles and presentations.

  • For community engagement and public interest class/ studio activities, click here.



Course: Urban Resilience and Sustainability Studio (6 credits)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Undergraduate (senior)

Year: 2015

Pedagogy: This course was part of research/teaching endeavor funded by San Antonio River Authority (SARA), Edwards Aquifer Authority (EAA), and Greater Edwards Aquifer Authority (GEAA). Using a semester-long project with multiple phases, the course was centered on urban sustainability & ecological design through exploring Green Infrastructure typologies in order to raise the awareness of campus sustainability and water management.

Semester Project: 

There is one semester project, encompassing three phases that equipped the students with different skills on sustainable urbanism and design. First, an innovative urban design assessment of the UTSA main campus to identify a proper site, followed by a mid-scale projects for designing innovative LID project (team project). Second, interactive eco-friendly edifices (individual projects) in the Central Campus that supports the relationship between buildings & open spaces; and nurtures both social and environmental sustainability. Third, each team will provide a model and assessment of the holistic design of their LID series and edifices, and their contribution to water quality, health and wellbeing, and campus STAR performance.

Student's WorkIlse Castro, Jesus Garcia, Eric Liedtke, Brandon Ramon, and Oscar Yanez



Course: Urban Design Studio (6 credits)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Undergraduate (junior)

Year: 2014

Pedagogy: This studio focuses on employing learning through problem-solving approach; it is focused on exploring different milieus of human-environment interactions, sustainable urbanism, materials, building techniques, and contextual considerations in programming and design. The course module includes lectures and reading in infill development, dealing with narrow sites, IBC, context analyses, GIS tutorial for site analysis and lot selection, and three semester projects. Projects vary in scope as they cover the urban and architectural needs of the local communities and, respond to the ongoing progress of urban growth and quality of life in San Antonio old neighborhoods. In addition to understanding of building tectonics, and International Building Code (IBC).


A six-weeks project for designing a prototype of live/work townhome for young families who will be working from home and need access to amenities and transportation to enjoy an affordable living and invest in their entrepreneurial work. It was recommended that the entire structure be made of SIP (Structurally Insulated Panels) to enhance its performance.


Student's Work: Danial Delgado, Neriah Holly, Nathaniel Solis



Course: Intro to Health Planning seminar (3 credits)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Graduate (elective)

Year: 2016

Pedagogy The course module is organized by weekly lectures, GIS labs, students-led debates, reading summaries, class discussions, short policy reports, and semester team / individual project. Lab sessions are comprised of applications of (ArcGIS 10+ for desktop), in addition to working on a number of lab assignments.

Geo-technology Labs: 

Semester Project: 

The Healthy Communities Transformation Initiative (HCTI) launched in 2012 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), aimed to develop a systematic, evidence-based approach to assist the local government assess the physical, social, and economic assets of community health, and identify strategies and programs for improving health and quality of life for their residents. Focusing on the Healthy Communities Index (HCI) of this initiative, the semester project. In this project, each student team were asked to identify two to three themes from the HCI discussed in this class. Those indicators are tailored to a specific community/ City, and a proposed implemental strategies plan and appropriate urban design proposal was submitted.

Student's Work: Carolina Dominiguez



Course:  Interior Design studio (3 credits)

University: Texas State University

Level: Undergraduate (junior)

Year: 2018

Pedagogy: This studio deals with design with nature through biophilic design principles and countering the sustainability gap, which is defined as the disparity that exists between the principles of Environmentally Sustainable Interior Design (ESID) and the reality of practice. The course module includes lectures on biophilic design elements, site visits, building code, ADA requirements, and a two-phase semester project.


A four-weeks team project for site analysis and incorporation of biophilic design elements in design was followed by an eight-weeks individual projects. A design charrette with professionals, cabin users, and students professional organization was part of students explorations of the site during the first four weeks. The projects required rigorous research and understanding of precedents, materials, spatial relationships, human factors, and performance of design solution. By integrating Environmentally Sustainable Materials into interior and exterior spaces of the campus cabins in Wimberley, Texas, the students significantly reduced environmental impacts through less energy consumption and less natural resource depletion and pollution.

Student's Work: Katherine Johns, Naomi Ball, and Chanel Devaughn



Course:  Architecture Research Studio (6 credit)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Undergraduate (Senior)

Year: 2010

Pedagogy: This studio module focused on the economical and sustainable design strategies in the development of prototype infill and supplemental housing structure for inner-city low-income neighborhoods. In was partially methodologically structured with five GIS tutorials and readings in research methods and content analysis. Student teams examined and quantified neighborhood pattern and housing morphology, and analyzed demographic and housing facts (i.e. tenure status, occupation). The semester was comprised a team research with a final research poster presentation and neighborhood model, followed by individual projects.

Semester Project:

The nine weeks project includes design development, detailing and documentation of prototype units, foundation and Structural design and detailing, Building envelop design and detailing, green materials with documented performance, and an AutoCad Design Development set.

Students Work Featured: Tim Blazi, Bradley McCarroll, Gabriel Olmos, Pablo Balderas, and Alexander Rodriguez



Course:  Master of Architecture Thesis Prep (1 credit)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Graduate 

Year: 2013

Pedagogy: The Professional Masters of Architecture degree contains in its final Project a capstone course for accreditation. The two-semester sequence is based on the interests and approach undertaken by each individual student in consultation with their professor. This course covers the first part of this sequence and establishes the groundwork for a Master’s Design Project undertaken in the following spring semester. The course is devoted to an independent inquiry stands alone as report comprising programming for the proposed project, analysis of similar precedents, and inquiries and assessment of potential sites.

Thesis Report & Poster: 

This poster is a one-board comprised of a Mind-mapping, Infographic, and research highlights illustrating the topic of inquiry. It is a visual tool to communicate thoughts, theories, and facts driven by scholarly research and evidence supporting your topic. The report is a detailed narrative and graphic-based version of the poster.

Students Posters: 

Barrett Nungesser (School of medicine)

Student (Sports +revitalization)

Romo(Assisted living)

Mauricio Tafoya (Social change through architecture)

James Beyer (Live/ work)

Marco Gonzalez (Ecotourism)

Levi Sanciuc (Edifices in post-socialist urban environment)

Jose Guerrero (A city in transition)

Alejandro Garza (Neoliberal Capitalism)

Joel Bost (Autism first)

Jonathan Sharp (Traumatic brain injury)



Course: Urban Planning Methods II (3 credits)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Graduate

Year: 2014

Course Structure: 

Semester Project: Active Living Neighborhood

Students Projects: Active Living Neighborhood



Course: Architecture Design Studio (6 credits)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Undergraduate

Year: 2013

Pedagogy:  This studio addressed issues of human-environment interactions, sustainable and recycled materials, urban design, infill development in old neighborhoods, and contextual considerations in program and design. These issues were examined and applied to two semester projects. Projects vary in scope as they cover the urban and architectural needs of neighborhood revitalization through art and active and healthy living in San Antonio West-side.

Project Summary: 

This six-weeks project was in partnership with Avenida Guadalupe [AG], a non-profit organization dedicated to local art revitalization. The project was centered on art and active and healthy living for San Antonio westside residents by creating spaces and art exhibit opportunities. Use of creative materials and the building as a sculptural piece was also addressed.

Student: Matthew Vasquez



Course: Arch & Theory (3 credits)

University: University of Texas at San Antonio

Level: Undergraduate (Junior)

Year: 2016

Pedagogy: This lab/ lecture course addressed issues urban density, livable and sustainable communities. The course module contains weekly lectures, seven geotechnology labs (GIS), five design workshops/ charrettes, and individual assignments and a six-weeks team project. Site analysis for designated corridor, and concept development for the proposed housing units were gradually developed by each team in five workshops/ design charrette, each covered a specific theme (i.e. morphology & mobility, infrastructure & ecology).

Project Summary: 

The Sustainable Urban Corridor project focused on a systematic analysis and intervention in three San Antonio urban corridors through adding prototype housing units for singles, young professionals, and families with different income levels, from affordable units to market rate houses. With knowledge acquired in the GIS labs, location-based determinants for each corridor were analyzed during the design charters. including several amenities at convenient prices, walk/bike destinations, and access to public transportation were required. Additional open space design requirements were also imposed. The three corridors are: Broadway, Fredericksburg, and UTSA Boulevard.

Students teams:

Team 1: Matthew Vasquez

Team 2: Matthew Vasquez

Team 3: Matthew Vasquez