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Architecture and Social Justice

January 16, 2019



At the 2018 AIA Design Justice Summit, individuals inspired action to overcome injustices in the built environment, but as with any social justice effort, the strength lies in the many and not in the few. Conversations throughout the summit contained an undercurrent regarding equity, diversity, and inclusion in architectural practice. Learn more about the summit here:

SAN ANTONIO HERON // Zendra Morales

Tuesday night at El Progreso Hall on the near West Side, volunteers with the local chapter of Latinos in Architecture (LiA) showed 50 or so community members two design concepts for Plaza Guadalupe—one with a fence surrounding it, the other without.



A group of local architects on Tuesday unveiled two conceptual plans for Plaza Guadalupe on the city's West Side, both designed to open up the plaza to more programming, amenities, and neighborhood services while improving safety and security.

AIA NATIONAL // Kathleen M. O'Donnell


An AIA summit on design justice moves past definitions and compels architects to take action.



As San Antonio approaches its 300th anniversary in 2018 and prepares for 1 million more residents by 2040, a panel of urban experts analyzed ways in which communities can better influence how development proceeds to the benefit of all socioeconomic groups.


Being very new to the profession, it’s important that I recognize that many women in the field before me have forged the way and continue to do so to this day. I am incredibly lucky to know and work with many amazing women mentors and peers. My perception is often challenged by strong women in the field, and I am encouraged to strive for more. I’d like to take some time to shed some light on a few powerhouse women at Overland who I see rockin’ it every day.

THE CURRENT // Sarah Martinez

On Tuesday night, about 80 people gathered inside Brick at the Blue Star Arts Complex, where UTSA architecture professor Antonio Petrov led a symposium exploring the meaning of "puro." Kicking off the discussion, Petrov says he began to question the word while working on the city’s tricentennial celebration and architectural projects on Broadway.

For others, puro creates a feeling of nostalgia or sense of pride, especially for native San Antonians. Activist Siboney Díaz-Sánchez took that sense of pride and used puro to determine value and worth. How does puro impact how we choose what gets preserved and what is replaced?


In celebration of Women’s History Month, we’ve asked our #womenwhoarchitect to share their insights on architecture and design.

THE RIVARD REPORT // Daniel Kleifgen

The leadership development program, sponsored by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, brings together the “best of the best from all sectors of the community” to engage and become positive change agents in the city’s most pressing issues, said Chamber Vice President Priscilla Camacho.

THE RIVARD REPORT // Camille Garcia

San Antonio’s 2017 $850 million municipal bond program, the largest bond program in city history, brings with it an opportunity to invest in capital projects across the city. But how much of that should be spent on so-called “transformative” projects and how much should be spent on the growing basic infrastructure needs of the city?


Low budgets preordain a lot of buildings to banality, and much of the work that architects do is tedious — dealing with mechanical systems and city permit offices, not to mention demanding clients.  Here are seven young(ish) architects and designers in San Antonio who are changing the cityscape for the better.

THE RIVARD REPORT // Siboney Díaz-Sánchez + Adrianna Swindle

The local chapter of the American Institute of Architects‘ Center for Architecture was packed Friday evening for the first Latinos in Architecture (LiA) exhibition opening in San Antonio. The exhibit – “Nexo,” meaning “link” in Spanish – featured work of local Latino designers and architects.

In 2011, the national AIA reported that only 3% of licensed architects in the United States are Hispanic. LiA was formed in San Antonio to assist in increasing that percentage by serving as a networking resource for those already working in design-related fields, a support system for those interested in pursuing a career, and to spark interest from younger generations.


As a Latina, Díaz-Sánchez is a minority in her profession, and while she doesn’t dwell on that fact, she acknowledged the importance of being aware of her surroundings. “There is identity in spaces and you are affected by them, whether that space is the Guadalupe Theater or Ithaca, New York.”


Its most recent data, from 2009 to 2010, confirm what many local officials already feared: Suburban sprawl is real, and Bexar County is losing residents to the Austin area.


Siboney Díaz-Sánchez has recently returned to her hometown of San Antonio for her dream job after graduating from Cornell University. As a designer at Poteet Architects, she is working on the Hemisfair Park Redevelopment Project, striving to create a dynamic live/work space in the heart of downtown.

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