Hispanic Heritage Month: 4 Noteworthy Architects

Past and present, honoring those who made their mark on the world!

October 8, 2021
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As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, recognized from September 15 to October 15, we’d like to take the opportunity to recognize Hispanic or Latino architects and designers--past and present--who have transformed our built environment. We’re spotlighting a few of the many who make the world of architecture what it is today.

Luis Barragán shot by Tomjc.55 | Torres de Satelite shot by Cheomargrem
Luis Barragán (1902-1988)

Barragán’s use of bright colors is but one distinguishing feature of his designs. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Barragán focused his studies on engineering, and was self-taught with his architectural skills. Following his graduation, Barragán traveled to Europe and was inspired by vernacular architecture, specifically that of Mediterranean and North African cultures. He referred to himself as a landscape architect, advocating for the importance of designing gardens and the exterior environments of buildings. Some of Barragán’s notable projects include: Casa Barragán, Torresde Satelite, Casa Gilardi, Chapel of the Capuchinas, Casa Prieto Lopez and many more. In recognition of his achievements, Barragán was awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize, often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

César Pelli by Presidencia de la N. Argentina | Republica shot by Abru789
César Pelli (1926-2019)

Born in Argentina, Pelli was one of the 20th century’s most distinguished architects. César attended National University Tucumán where he received his bachelor’s degree in architecture. Following his studies, Pelli moved to the United States, attending University of Illinois to pursue his master’s degree. Pelli served as dean of Yale’s School of Architecture and established his own practice in Connecticut. His work is notable for its lightweight appearance, often clad with glass or thin stone veneer. Notable projects include: Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles, the U.S. embassy in Tokyo, Museum of Modern Art expansion and renovation in New York City, World Financial Center and Winter Garden in New York City, Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia, the Republica in Argentina and the Canary Wharf Tower in London. Of the many honors he received, one was the Aga Khan Award, given every three years “to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies in which Muslims have a significant presence.” César Pelli also received the AIA 1995 Gold Medal.

Tatiana Bilbao by Alberto Giuliani—LUZphoto/Redux | Expo Zaragoza Pavilion shot by Diego Delso

Tatiana Bilbao (1972-Present)

Bilbao is a Mexico City native, born August 2, 1972. She is a powerhouse in the architectural realm of merging geometry with nature. Bilbao attended Universidad Iberoamericana (UIA, also called Ibero),where she studied Architecture and Urbanism.

Bilbao uses a unique method of design, featuring an interdisciplinary approach by collaborating with artists to develop distinctive designs. Notable projects by Bilbaoinclude: Culiacán Botanical Garden, installing art works and service buildings; and Monterrey Institute of Technology’s Multiuse Biotechnology Facility, Expo Zaragoza Pavilion among many others. Bilbao has received several distinguished awards, including the Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York.

Ismael Leyva by Sam Ortiz for the Commercial Observer | Time Warner Center shot by Erik Drost

Ismael Leyva (1952-Present)

Born in Mexico, Levya decided at the age of 15 that he would be an architect. In his early career, he moved to New York City working as a draftsman before opening his own practice in 1996, which would become Ismael Leyva Architects, one of the most respected architecture firms in New York City. Some of Leyva and his firms’ projects include: Time Warner Center, 15 Hudson Yards, 60 Water Street, Torres Paseo Colón and many more.