University of Pennsylvania

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA


Introducing Surface Summer School at Penn

By Weitzman
Jun 3, '20 11:39 AM EST

The Department of Architecture at Weitzman is partnering with Surface Media, publisher of Surface, the 27-year-old American magazine of global contemporary design, to launch Surface Summer School at Penn, a design challenge and competition. The challenge will invite Weitzman students to respond to a brief for architectural and design solutions for a mobile medical testing unit for COVID-19. The winner of the competition will be profiled in Surface magazine and will be eligible for an internship with the publication at a later date.

Inspired by Penn students’ recent involvement in the 3D printing of 1,000 face shields for Penn Medicine’s six-hospital health system, and recognizing the unique challenge faced by students seeking an internship or employment this summer, Winka Dubbeldam, Miller Professor and Chair of Architecture, conceived a month-long challenge in which students create a prefabricated COVID-19 testing structure that will enable quick and easy assembly on site. Taking place from June 1 - 30, 2020, the challenge is intended to express optimism in this challenging time through the exploration of exciting new directions in manufacturing, highlighting Surface Media’s belief that creative design and emerging technologies can solve the world's problems.

Design proposals will be reviewed at the end of the month by a Super Jury which will judge the student submissions and choose the winners. Along with Dubbeldam, the Super Jury will include Dror Benshetrit, Yves Béhar, Joe Doucet, Ferda Kolatan, Marc Lotenberg, Thom Mayne, Susan Sellers, and Marion Weiss. Additional jurors will be announced in the coming weeks.

Surface Summer School at Penn will feature weekly lectures, made available to both Penn students and the public, by The Super Jury which will work in collaboration with Surface. Additionally, in-depth weekly tutorials to critique students’ analytical thinking, design work, and presentation techniques will be held throughout the duration of the program.

Dubbeldam says, “The goal is to provide students with an opportunity during this crisis to meet design professionals, create better portfolios, and to hone their creativity and design skills even further. We’re thrilled to partner with Surface Media, which has always championed creative design and supported upcoming talent within the community.” 

Read Dubbeldam's interview with Surface about the partnership on

Winners will be announced mid-July.