The University of Notre Dame School of Architecture has announced a collaboration with California-based Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) to create a design studio course focusing on the company’s growing Gigafactory 1 in Nevada. The university says one of the goals is to explore how to move people and materials through the highest-volume battery production facility in the world.
The Gigafactory currently employs 7,000 people in the Reno, Nevada area, however Notre Dame says it is only 30 percent complete. As production ramps up and Tesla continues to expand the facility, the company expects approximately 10,000 new residents to come to the area annually.
The course at Notre Dame will not only focus on design solutions for the expanding facility, but also working with local government on preparing the area for such rapid growth. Notre Dame says students will also help identify economic development opportunities to present to the city by proposing how to expand affordable housing and other infrastructure to accommodate the influx of people and new businesses.
"At its core, the new design studio is an urban planning exercise because the Gigafactory contains all of the elements of a city: police, fire, public works, offices, restaurants, etc.," said Marianne Cusato, adjunct associate professor of architecture at Notre Dame. "We hope the patterns we explore in this studio will have applications far beyond the course."
The design studio course is scheduled for the spring 2019 semester. Students will end the course with presentations to Tesla management and Notre Dame faculty.