Designing Cuba

A recent article on the 2016 VCU Cuba Study Abroad Program highlights the limitations and exultations of designing in highly constrained environments. Sara Reed, one of the program coordinators, reflects on her travels through Cuba before it becomes “Americanized,” and beautiful photography by Manon Loustaunau and Cody Huff captures candid moments roaming the streets and workshops where old is made new.

Russell Jamison, who originally envisioned the Cuban trip as an engineering course in design constraints, summarizes the experience of designing in a country where scarcity is bountiful:

“We were completely exhausted by the process of living. Everything you get is extraordinarily time-intensive to obtain. If you wanted duct tape, it was inconceivable. If you have nails but not screws, you have to change your design so it doesn’t need screws. It’s like Apollo 13. What Cubans and the students on the trip realize is working backward from what you have is the magic of constraint.”

Read the full story here.


Go here for the full program description, travel dates, cost sheet, and course and credit options, and other important information.