The Cal Design Lab seeks to promote a new kind of collaborative teaching, learning and research environment that embraces the benefits of active and service learning, participatory action research, and collaborative project-based pedagogy.

Summer 2016 Courses and Workshops

  • AIA Fam 1st Architecture Camp

    Faculty: Jeremiah Tolbert (B.Arch '04), Cameron Toler (B.Arch '09)

    Thirteen students from West Oakland Middle School recently spent five days at the College of Environmental Design, immersing themselves in architecture and design, disciplines virtually unknown to them before they entered Wurster Hall. While most of Wurster’s classrooms and studios felt a quieter change of pace during the start of summer, young designers from the Fam 1st Youth Architecture Camp filled the Cal Design Lab classroom with an unparalleled sense of excitement and frenzy. Learning the basics of architectural design, youths aged 11 to 14 expressed their creative ideas and innovative designs through a number of projects over the course of the week, culminating in the design and construction of a fictional community-centered retail space for Uber’s new Oakland offices.

  • Summer [IN]STITUTE Dean’s Roundtable

    Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning, Architecture, City and Regional Planning, Dean's Office

    Faculty: Jennifer Wolch, Kristina Hill, Chris Calott, Rudabeh Pakravan

    Four esteemed faculty representing each of the college’s multidisciplinary-by-design departmental structure join participants in the 2016 Summer [IN]STITUTE in Environmental Design for a lively discussion of the many approaches to sustainability.


  • SUMMERMAKER Workshop: Build Your Own 3D Printer

    Faculty: Chris Palmer

    Build a plastic 3D printer with a 203mm (8”) cubic build chamber from a kit designed by Chris K. Palmer. The frame and mounts will be produced for the workshop in the CED Digital Fabrication Lab from polycarbonate sheet on the ZUND Swiss Cutting System. Topics will include: general 3D printing modeling tips, an overview of slicing software choices, an introduction to free slicing software with setting templates, and general instruction about how to prepare prints. You will leave the class with the printer and the skills needed to enter and explore the amazing world of 3D printing.

Spring 2016 Courses and Workshops

  • Tackling Inequality through Equitable Development: Perspectives on Place, Race and Class in the San Francisco Bay Area

    City and Regional Planning

    Faculty: Carolina Reid, Evan Bissell

    In this course, students will engage with critical texts on community development, looking specifically at issues related to racial inequality and white privilege.  Through interactive exercises drawing on design activism, self-reflection, and collaborative learning, students will explore how contemporary policies related to housing and community development are shaped by racial ideologies that legitimize and naturalize market practices of exclusion.  We have requested the CED Design Lab to allow us to move out of a seminar format and treat this course more as a studio, where drawing, moving, and collaborative projects will form the majority of the class time.

  • Eat. Think. Design. (Designing Innovative Public Health Solutions)

    Department of Public Health

    Faculty: Jaspal S. Sandhu

    Designing Innovative Public Health Solutions (PH290-2) is a graduate-level, restricted enrollment, interdisciplinary, project-centered course at the University of California, Berkeley. The first version of this class was designed by Jaspal Sandhu and Nap Hosang in late 2010. It was taught for the first time in Spring 2011, and has been taught each spring semester since then. This course teaches students how to systematically design innovative interventions and programs in public health. Throughout the course, students work domestic and global innovation projects with external clients that will be implemented. This is the only course of its type in the country.

  • Project H Design Workshop

    Faculty: Emily Pilloton (B.Arch '03)

    This workshop, geared towards a group of participants from Japan, focuses on the integration of design/build/creativity into educational programs. Offered by Project H Design.

Selection of Courses Previously Offered

  • Design, Evaluate and Scale Development Technologies

    Haas School of Business/Department of Mechanical Engineering

    Faculty: Alice Agogino

    This required course for the Designated Emphasis in Development Engineering will include projects and case studies, many related to projects at UC Berkeley, such as those associated with the Development Impact Labs (DIL). Student teams will work with preliminary data to define the problem. They will then collect and analyze interview and survey data from potential users and begin to design a solution. Students will explore how to use novel monitoring technologies and “big data” for product improvement and evaluation. The student teams will use the case studies (with improvements based on user feedback and data analysis) to develop a plan for scaling and evaluation with a rigorous controlled trial.

  • {design.} DeCal

    Department of Mechanical Engineering


    As an introduction to design theory and practice with a focus on human centered design, we will look at skills ranging from brainstorming and creative thinking to sketching and prototyping. With a focus on product design, we will explore multiple facets like ecofriendly/green design, humanitarian design, persuasive design, aesthetics, and more.

  • Life Cycle Thinking in Engineering Design

    Department of Mechanical Engineering

    Faculty: Nicholas Santero

    How do we design and manufacture greener products, and how do we know if they really are? This class both provides tools for sustainable design innovation and metrics to measure success. Students will use both creative and analytical skills, generating new ideas as well as evaluating designs with screening-level life cycle assessment.

  • Innovation through Design Thinking

    Department of Mechanical Engineering

    Faculty: Alan Van Pelt

    Designed for professionally-oriented graduate students, this course explores key concepts in design innovation based on the human-centered design approach called “design thinking.” Topics covered include human-centered design research, analysis of research to develop design principles, creativity techniques, user needs framing and strategic business modeling.

  • Urban Space and Literary Form: World Literature and the Modern and Contemporary City

    Department of English/Department of City Planning

    Faculty: Mia Fuller, Harsha Ram

    Literature and urban civilization have long been intimately connected. Our seminar seeks to explore their connection as it relates to the emergence and global spread of the modern and contemporary city. How has the spatial and social organization of the modern city informed the thematic and formal choices writers make? And how, in turn, have the imaginative projections of literary texts shaped our experience of the city, its emancipatory potential and its alienating constraints? What kinds of urban spaces and city-dwellers become the privileged focus of modern fiction and poetry? To what extent is the global diffusion of the novel form related to the growth of urbanization?

Design Frontiers Workshops

Set at the Cal Design Lab, the Design Frontiers Workshop Series gives participants an opportunity to work in an immersive, collaborative and multidisciplinary setting at the cutting edge of design.

Each workshop is designed by an expert in the topic and intends to push the boundaries of making. Workshops feature a combination of informational lectures, structured hands-on learning activities and self-directed open-ended experimentation. Workshop participants have the opportunity to gain exposure to novel techniques and technologies, develop skills and capabilities in emerging domains, and further their own interests and visions in the company of other workshop participants.

Workshops are geared towards students and practitioners in design-related fields interested in gaining new knowledge. Sessions provide creative opportunities to experiment while having a clear design goal. Workshops do not require previous knowledge in the subject. However, experience in design may be required for some offerings.

By hosting courses from other disciplines such as engineering, public health and business, the Cal Design Lab facilitates the sharing of design methods and design teaching techniques across fields. We aim to host design-related courses for students in a broad range of disciplines, allowing them to engage in hands-on design activities, creative group work, and fast prototyping.

View past Design Frontiers Workshops.