North Torrey Pines Living & Learning Neighborhood Honored by Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards

Fast Company named UC San Diego’s North Torrey Pines Living & Learning Neighborhood (NTPLLN) as a finalist in the 2022 Innovation by Design Awards. Designed by HKS, NTPLLN is honored in the Spaces and Places category, which celebrates the most innovative architecture of the year.

In its 11th year, the Innovation by Design Awards competition commends “designers and businesses solving the most crucial problems of today and anticipating the pressing issues of tomorrow,” according to Fast Company. Judges evaluate submissions based on Fast Company’s key ingredients of innovation: functionality, originality, beauty, sustainability, user insight, cultural impact, and business impact.

HKS’ Global Practice Director for Education, Leonardo Gonzalez Sangri said the honor acknowledges the firm’s commitment to design and research innovations that yield positive impact.

“Being recognized by Fast Company is an affirmation of the investments and efforts HKS makes towards leading with purpose and delivering measurable benefits to our communities through our work,” Gonzalez Sangri said.

NTPLLN is a “campus within a campus” at UC San Diego designed by HKS using sustainable and evidence-based strategies proven to promote environmental, physical, mental, and social well-being. Led by UC San Diego and the University’s vision for a socially connected, sustainable residential and learning environment, the project’s design-build team also included Clark Construction, Safdie Rabines Architects and OJB Landscape Architecture.

The Fast Company Innovation by Design Awards recognize NTPLLN for its outcome-driven, sustainable design and industry-leading longitudinal research study. A coalition of researchers from HKS, UC San Diego, and the Center for Advanced Research and Design (CADRE) assessed the design’s impact on student mental and physical health, capturing metrics related to depression, diet and environmental satisfaction compared with prior spaces. Students reported an 8.2% reduction in depression scores and a 27.96% increase in satisfaction with residential spaces, among other significant results.

Dr. Upali Nanda, HKS’ Global Practice Director of Research said that linking design intent to outcomes is at the heart of HKS’ investment in research and the Fast Company honor recognizes — and signals to a global audience — that good design goes beyond just aesthetics.

“This is about meaningful impact that we as a design community hold ourselves accountable to,” Nanda said. “We appreciate Fast Company’s recognition of innovation as something that is reflected in the lived outcomes of the people and societies we design for.”

UC San Diego is using the innovative design, research and operational methods of NTPLLN to inform new approaches to services and future campus developments. Gonzalez Sangri said that the project itself, along with honors presented by organizations like Fast Company, powerfully demonstrate positive progress in higher education design and development.

“My hope is that projects like North Torrey Pines Living & Learning Community mark a shift in the way higher education institutions plan and develop capital improvements,” said Gonzalez Sangri, “where they seize opportunities to deliver beyond physical space and program needs and define outcomes that improve environmental conditions for better human health and well-being.”