Dean's CreativeTalks:
Latin American Cities

02/10/21, 6:00PM

  • Thursday, February 10, 2021

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Support provided by the Sharon and Mauricio Oberfeld Fund for USC Architecture Global Studies Program in Mexico City

Cover photo credit: Arturo Ortiz Struck

Arturo Ortiz, Frida Escobedo, Tania Ragasol, Jose Castillo, and Pedro Reyes in conversation with Dean Milton S. F. Curry.

Mexico City and the Global South are impacted by the exchange of knowledge, economies, labor, goods, and services. Thinking about a new social compact and a hemispheric policy of developing cities and metropolitan areas with an empowering aesthetic and spatial dimension, USC will catalyze new research aimed at building more capacity between the University and its strategic partners, municipalities, and governments, along with architects and scholars through various mechanisms. Through the Initiative, the School of Architecture will support undergraduate and graduate architecture, landscape, and city design studios and interdisciplinary seminar courses to deepen students’ knowledge of the contexts in the Americas. This panel of renowned Latin American artists and architects will serve as an introduction to the critical work centered in this region.


Tania Ragasol is an independent art curator and co-founder of Oficina Particular. She is interested in the idea of what is understood as “common," "collaborative,” and “interdiscipline,” as well as the generation of productive bonds between professional agents and diverse audiences.

Frida Escobedo is an architect and designer based in Mexico City. Her work focuses largely on the reactivation of urban spaces that are considered to be residual or forgotten, through projects that range from housing and community centers, to hotels, galleries, and public art installations. In addition to her practice, Frida Escobedo has taught at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and Harvard Graduate School of Design. She is the recipient of the 2016 Architectural Review Emerging Architecture Award, the 2017 Architectural League Emerging Voices Award, and in 2018 was selected to design the 18th Serpentine Summer Pavilion in London. During spring 2019, she was a visiting professor at RICE University and is currently teaching at Harvard Graduate School of Design.

Arturo Ortiz Struck is an architect based in Mexico City. He completed his master’s studies in knowledge, analysis, theory and history at UNAM. He was a member of the FONCA’s National System for Creators of Art in the fields of architecture (2007-2010) and visual arts (2011-2014) and was a recipient of the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction grant (2008), as well as a grant for art projects from BBVA Foundation (2017). In his architectural and urban design practice, he has carried out a diversity of projects of various scales for private as well as public clients. His affordable housing and sustainable construction projects for middle-class users as well as housing projects completed as part of workshops in informal settlements in Mexico City are a highlight of his work. He currently runs Taller Territorial (Territorial Workshop) out of Mexico City, collaborating with a number architects, urbanists, economists, communication experts, artists, and designers to respond to various projects that relate to territory in fields like art, architecture, journalism and literature.

Jose Castillo holds a degree in architecture from the Iberoamericana University in Mexico City as well as a Master's and a Doctor of Design degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. He is the founding principal along Saidee Springall of a|911, a practice based in Mexico City. Their work includes research, cultural, institutional, housing, mobility projects, urban design and planning work in various cities in Mexico and Central America.

Pedro Reyes seeks to develop critical discourses with his audience producing works of art and social spaces. His work touches on themes that interact between physical and social spaces, making invisible geometry tangible in our personal relationships. He designs projects that propose playful solutions to social problems, often enlisting viewers as participants, either through individual conversations, therapeutic acts or as creators of objects. His expansive notion of sculpture examines the cognitive contradictions of modern life, and the possibility of overcoming our particular crises by increasing our degree of individual and collective agency. Thus, Reyes explores the power of individual and collective organization to incite change through communication, creativity, happiness and humor.