Location: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Date: 2019
Client: nonarchitecture (learning Competition)
Project Type: Speculative
Program: City, university
Finalist (2019)
EXHIBITED IN Learning: Alternative designs for universities @ Boiler House at Newcastle University [New Castle upon tyne, united kingdom] (2019)
published in Non Architecture Competitions book (2019)


The increasing digitization of education has many forecasting the end of direct human interaction as model of instruction. However, in a similar manner the extinction of the paperback at the hands of the e-book never came, so too it would seem remote learning and online courses will simply become part of the university’s arsenal rather than upending it completely. However, rather than examine a university’s media and methods, this project seeks to catalyze a university’s infrastructure, or milieu. Often operating at the scale of a neighborhood, universities can be an incredible waste of space when classes are not in session. And even when they are, their building density is poor—often luxuriating in vast campuses across large areas. In the age of climate change where population is set to reach 9 billion by 2050, universities have an opportunity to use one of their most significant assets—space—and flexibly redensify for an increased population while serving as a model of socio-ecological sustainability. UniverCITY therefore deploys nine thousand repurposed shipping containers within an existing, 1.6km campus to serve as a case study on the feasibility of urban redensification. The containers act as a datum that reorganize a new grid system optimized for pedestrians, rather than vehicles and parking lots. Additionally, UniverCITY encourages students, faculty and staff to more communally live amongst its educational buildings rather than commute, and therefore extend knowledge sharing dynamics beyond the classroom to an entire city—affordably innovating on spatial opportunities.


Design Team: Alberto de Salvatierra, david douglas, carley pasqualotto, kyle saca