Public Program

  • Rethinking Architecture Education in Latin America
    Rudy Argote, Denise Luna Acevedo, Christian Pineda, Shantal Rodriguez, and Alejandro Santander
    SALAA, Tijuana
    Sep 2023 to Aug 2024

“Rethinking Architecture Education in Latin America” workshop discussions, 2023. Courtesy SALAA, Tijuana. Photo: Abraham Garcia

The canonical architecture pedagogies adopted by Latin American architecture schools leave a gap between discipline and practice, the Global North and Global South, the formal and informal, the correct and incorrect, and the visible and invisible. This gap is fertile ground to explore and discover educational modes that delve into the complexities and deep realities to confront our epoch of emergencies. Through a series of events planned in two stages, SALAA aims to set a platform for conversations and debates from Latin American cosmologies with interventions from relevant figures to counter-balance any regional bias, learn from previous educational revolutions, and ongoing parallel efforts in other parts of the planet. It is important to note that students will actively design these new modes alongside established practitioners and academics.

Rudy Argote, an architect from Tijuana, Mexico. Currently director at RA+ architects, cofounder and director at SALAA, and founder/director Plankton—Ocean Plastic Upcycle. He received a bachelor’s of architecture from the UIA Tijuana and is continuing his graduate studies in city planning at the same university. Since 2010 he is a collaborator at Torolab collective as head designer, a codirector at Bordofarms, which is a project created to employ the community of deportees in Tijuana. From 2016 to 2019, he was cofounder and design director at Centro Ventures, an adaptive reuse development firm.

Alejandro Santander is principal of estudio santander. The office practices architecture, urbanism, and design through rigorous research of the underlying contemporary conditions as it seeks to delineate potentialities and possibilities of design strategies toward other realities. Santander is director of TIOC, a think tank concentrated on research for the construction of possible systems of governance through decentralized systems of commitments and the real-time negotiations that organize the resultant temporary morphology of architecture-city. He is also cofounder and director of SALAA, a platform outlet for exploration and debate on architecture's world-making possibilities, with a particular interest in the variations of many Latin America(s). SALAA seeks to engage in the most pressing and urgent conditions that shape the notions of Latin America. Recognized with regional, national, and international awards and participated in exhibitions and biennales in the United States, Mexico, Europe, and Asia, including the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism and Venice Biennale of Architecture 2018 and 2021.

Denise Luna Acevedo is an architect, researcher, and professor from Mexico. She studied architecture at Universidad Iberoamericana Tijuana. She was a researcher in the program The New Normal iteration 2018 at Strelka Institute, where she collaborated in research and design projects for cities, exploring the impact of emerging technologies on new types of interdisciplinary design practices. She is a recipient of the full Certificate Scholarship for the Post-Planetary Universal Design Program at The New Centre for Research & Practice in 2020. Luna Acevedo is partner of estudio santander; codirector of TIOC think tank (Temporary Infrastructure of Commitments); recently authored “Dispositivos de Adhesión: Diseños que diseñan” in the book Repensar los diseños (UABC, 2021) and Figuras femeninas planetarias (Agencia, 2021). Her work intends to seek alternative forms of architecture practices and explore the possibilities of diverse techniques through thinking and practice at a planetary scale, especially from a Latin American context.

Shantal Rodriguez is an architect from Universidad Iberoamericana Tijuana. Concluding an academic exchange focused on architecture and urbanism at the Catholic University of Cordoba, Argentina in 2018. She has participated in projects presented at the Malaysia 100 YC Medini Biennial in 2017, the Venice Biennale (2018), the Weltstadt exhibition in San Diego by the Goethe Institute (2018) and the Venice Biennale (2021), developing an investigation-project based on architecture infrastructures from sound, nature, and urban landscape as part of the Italian pavilion projects from TIOC think tank. She's cofounder of SALAA, a nonprofit organization that operates as a platform-outlet for exploration and debate on architecture's world-making possibilities.

Christian Pineda is an architect and entrepreneur based in New York. He was born in San Diego, California in 1986 and grew up between San Diego and Tijuana having family on both sides of the border. He received a bachelor’s of architecture from the New School of Architecture & Design and holds a master’s of advanced architectural design from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). In 2012, after years of working in architecture, he opened up a Tijuana-style taquería in New York City, LOS TACOS No.1. He currently has six restaurants throughout Manhattan. Most recently, Pineda joined the board of directors at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York and also sits on the advisory board of Sporting ID 11, a 3rd division professional soccer team located in Orange County.

Orhan Ayyüce is an avid explorer of narratives in cities and urbanisms. As a writer, he is a senior editor for Archinect where he writes feature articles, interviews and news on architecture, urbanism, art, and culture. He is an associate professor at East Los Angeles College’s architecture department, and as a licensed architect, maintains an independent architectural practice in Los Angeles. Ayyüce has taught architecture and urbanism at California Polytechnic University, Pomona; Woodbury University, Burbank; and Escuela Libre de Arquitectura, Tijuana. He is a regular critic in architecture schools including University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), Cal-Poly Pomona, and others. He graduated from SCI-Arc, in 1981. Ayyüce, served as a member of the board of directors at LA Forum (Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design). He has participated in the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and the Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture in 2014.

René Peralta studied architecture at the New School of Architecture in San Diego and the Architectural Association in London. He has been a professor in the department of architecture and urban design at University of California Los Angeles; professor of urban design at the University of Washington in St. Louis; and was director of the Master of Science in Architecture program with an emphasis in landscape and urbanism at Woodbury University in San Diego from 2012–14.  He also served as the inaugural Herb Greene Teaching Fellow at the University of Oklahoma between 2019–21. His work in recent years explores the contemporary and future forms of the urban border between the United States and Mexico, specifically between the cities of Tijuana and San Diego. Peralta is a coauthor, with Fiamma Montezemolo and Heriberto Yépez, of the book Here is Tijuana, (Black Dog, 2006). He coedited, along with Tito Alegría and Roger Lewis, of the commemorative edition of the book A Temporary Paradise (Kevin Lynch and Donald Appleyard, 2018).

Founded in 2020, SALAA is a platform to discover architecture(s) in Latin America.