This article was originally published on October 6, 2022 and updated on October 11, 2023.
Architects, engineers and designers shape the world we live in. Their vision and ingenuity can break down barriers, resolve complex problems and tell important stories. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, get to know these 20 Hispanic design professionals whose talent is making a major impact.
MARIANO ALONSO & LUDMILA CRIPPA
Buenos Aires, Argentina | Architects
Mariano Alonso and Ludmila Crippa, founders of the design studio Alonso & Crippa, are Argentinian architects with a great sensibility for the space and surroundings. The dynamic architectural duo is known for their innovative and collaborative approach to design. Their work reflects a harmonious blend of creativity and functionality, emphasizing sustainable and contextually responsive architecture.
Alonso and Crippa have earned recognition for their ability to seamlessly integrate modern design concepts with the unique cultural and environmental aspects of each project they undertake. Their designs have left a lasting impact, redefining architectural paradigms and pushing the boundaries of what is possible in contemporary architecture.
PH Thames—the studio’s urban dwelling project—has gotten a lot of buzz. Take a tour.
Santiago, Chile | Architect
Alejandro Aravena, hailing from Santiago, Chile, is an acclaimed architect known for his innovative and socially conscious designs. His work goes beyond aesthetics, addressing critical societal issues like affordable housing and urban development. Aravena’s architectural approach centers on collaborative solutions that prioritize the needs of the community and environment. His visionary designs have earned him numerous awards, including the prestigious Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2016, highlighting his significant impact on architecture and his dedication to creating more sustainable and equitable built environments.
Aravena was recently selected to design a new facility in Monterrey, Mexico, for the School of Architecture, Art, and Design at Tecnológico de Monterrey. Learn about Aulas 10.
Mexico City, Mexico | Architect
Luis Barragán, a prominent architect from Mexico City, Mexico, is celebrated for his transformative impact on architecture. His work, deeply rooted in the principles of modernism, emphasized the importance of space, light, and color. Barragán’s designs are known for their geometric purity, vivid colors, and thoughtful integration of the natural surroundings, resulting in spaces that evoke a sense of serenity and contemplation. His mastery of both residential and public projects has earned him international recognition and solidified his status as a visionary in the architectural realm.
Mexico City, Mexico | Architect
Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao is renowned for her innovative and sustainable approach to architectural design. Her work seamlessly integrates contemporary aesthetics with a deep understanding of local culture and environmental responsibility. Bilbao’s commitment to eco-conscious design has led to projects like the acclaimed Ventura House and the Ajijic House, which harmonize beautifully with their natural surroundings. Her architectural philosophy highlights the importance of community and environmental engagement, making her a prominent figure in the global architectural community and a strong advocate for sustainable, contextually responsive design.
Spain; Durham, North Carolina | Architect
Félix Candela, born in Spain and later based in Durham, North Carolina, was a visionary architect renowned for his pioneering work in structural engineering and innovative architectural designs. His iconic creations, characterized by the extensive use of thin-shell concrete structures, redefined architectural possibilities. Candela’s architectural legacy is marked by his ability to merge form and function, creating breathtaking designs that have stood the test of time. His influence transcends borders and has left an enduring mark on the field of architecture, making him an inspiration to architects and engineers worldwide.
Mexico; Fresno, California | Fashion Designer
Willy Chavarría is a fashion designer known for his boundary-pushing designs that explore themes of identity, masculinity, and cultural diversity. Chavarría’s work defies traditional fashion norms, often challenging stereotypes and celebrating diversity within the fashion industry. His collections reflect a fusion of Mexican and American cultural influences, creating a unique and thought-provoking style. Chavarría’s commitment to social commentary through fashion has garnered widespread acclaim, making him a notable figure in the contemporary fashion industry and an advocate for inclusivity and self-expression.
Chavarría’s New Life display at New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2024 left international fashion press buzzing. The Latin Times has the scoop.
Mexico City, Mexico | Architect
Frida Escobedo, based in Mexico City, Mexico, is an influential architect known for her groundbreaking designs that fuse traditional Mexican architecture with modern sensibilities. Her work is characterized by its minimalistic yet richly contextual approach, often incorporating natural elements and cultural references. Escobedo’s innovative designs have earned her international acclaim, with projects ranging from residential spaces to cultural institutions. Her work reflects a deep commitment to preserving Mexican architectural heritage while pushing the boundaries of contemporary design, making her a prominent figure in the field and a source of inspiration for architects worldwide.
Escobedo is currently tasked with designing the newest wing for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. Earlier this year, she sat down with Vogue to chat about her career and this prominent project.
Quito, Ecuador | Architect
Escudero is reinventing the architecture of Ecuador with a sensibility for modern design and landscape inside the spaces. His firm focuses on design, business tactics, and experiential innovation. Escudero’s impact on architecture extends beyond his built projects. He has also been a vocal advocate for environmentally conscious design practices, inspiring a new generation of architects to prioritize sustainability. His innovative material usage and eco-friendly design commitment have set a global benchmark, establishing him as an architectural trailblazer.
Want to dig deeper? Discover the Poetic Modernism of Ecuadorian Architect Felipe Escudero | Architectural Digest
Mexico City, Mexico | Industrial Designer
Hector Esrawe is a highly influential Mexican industrial designer renowned for his profound impact on contemporary design. His work seamlessly fuses traditional Mexican craftsmanship with modern design sensibilities, resulting in a unique and globally recognized aesthetic. Esrawe’s creations, from furniture to interior spaces, have garnered international acclaim, reflecting his ability to transcend cultural boundaries while celebrating Mexico’s rich design heritage. His legacy lies in his ability to infuse authenticity and cultural richness into industrial design, making him a celebrated figure in the field.
Check out his recent contribution to the FORMAT Festival in Arkansas. Installations by Esrawe + Cardenas among those at FORMAT in Arkansas (dezeen.com)
El Salvador; Queens, New York | Engineer
Vanessa Galvez, a Salvadorian civil engineer from Queens, New York, is dedicated to sustainability and inclusivity in her work. Her career began at the New York City Department of Design and Construction during Hurricane Sandy. In 2016, the 26-year-old led a pioneering bioswales project, mitigating runoff and rainwater issues. She has since worked on projects with the New York City Transit System, underscoring her dedication to fostering positive change in her community and the environment while exemplifying the transformative power of engineering.
Get the details on Galvez’s $3.8 million bioswale project. Lifelong Queens Resident Managing Project to Improve Neighborhood Resiliency and Expand Sustainable Infrastructure in Maspeth.
Buenos Aires, Argentina | Architect
Luciano Kruk is a celebrated architect from Argentina recognized for his masterful blend of modern aesthetics and natural surroundings. His designs often seamlessly integrate with the environment, creating a harmonious relationship between the built space and its surroundings. Kruk’s work is characterized by clean lines, geometric precision, and the use of natural materials, resulting in homes and structures that exude both simplicity and elegance. His innovative approach to architecture has earned him numerous accolades and established him as a distinguished figure in the field, reshaping the architectural landscape in Buenos Aires and beyond.
Kruk’s signature use of concrete takes center stage in this single-story home. Architectural Digest shares a tour.
Bogotá, Colombia | Architect
Giancarlo Mazzanti, a distinguished architect from Bogotá, Colombia, founded El Equipo Mazzanti, a Colombian design studio specializing in socially driven architectonic design and academic research. Renowned for his innovative and colorful designs, Mazzanti is a visionary known for his ability to seamlessly integrate architecture with the surrounding environment. His work often involves community-oriented and educational projects, creating spaces that serve functional purposes while fostering a sense of belonging and identity. Mazzanti’s architectural creations are celebrated for their ability to transform and revitalize urban areas, making him a significant figure in the field and a source of pride for Colombia’s architectural landscape.
Drawing inspiration from the playful design of the Bosque de la Esperanza sports center, the Mazzanti team created a line of toys inspired by the firm’s most iconic architectural and social projects.
Mexico City, Mexico | Architect
Rozana Montiel, a notable architect from Mexico City, Mexico, is celebrated for her commitment to socially engaged and contextually responsive design. Her work is a testament to the power of architecture in addressing pressing societal issues, with projects such as the “Celosía” housing development, which promotes community building and accessibility. Montiel’s designs often incorporate participatory elements, involving the local community in the design process. Her innovative and inclusive approach has earned her international recognition, showcasing the potential of architecture to create positive social change. Montiel’s work embodies the transformative capacity of architecture when it embraces the needs of the people and the environment.
JASON GARCÍA NOONAN
Madrid, Spain; Bogotá, Colombia | Architect
Jason García Noonan is an accomplished architect with roots in Madrid, Spain, and Bogotá, Colombia. His work is characterized by a harmonious blend of cultural influences from both regions, resulting in innovative and dynamic designs. García Noonan is known for his commitment to sustainable and inclusive architecture, creating spaces that not only reflect the beauty of their surroundings but also address critical societal and environmental issues. His architectural vision spans continents, making him a notable figure in the global architectural community, and his designs are a testament to the power of cross-cultural inspiration in architecture.
San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina; New Haven, Connecticut | Architect
César Pelli, originally from San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina, and later based in New Haven, Connecticut, was a pioneering architect whose impact on the architectural world is immeasurable. Known for his iconic and innovative designs, Pelli’s portfolio included some of the world’s most recognizable skyscrapers and cultural landmarks, such as the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. His architectural vision combined a deep understanding of aesthetics with a commitment to functional design. Pelli’s influence stretched across continents, and his work has left an enduring legacy, shaping the modern urban landscape and inspiring generations of architects.
Cuba; Newark, New Jersey | Fashion Designer
The minimalist and elegant designs of Cuban fashion designer Narciso Rodriguez have left an indelible mark on the fashion industry. Known for its clean lines and timeless silhouettes, Rodriguez’s work combines classic sophistication with a modern edge. His creations have graced red carpets and runways worldwide, earning him accolades and a devoted following. Rodriguez’s unique perspective as a Cuban-American designer has influenced the fashion landscape, making him an industry trailblazer and an inspiration to fellow designers.
Fun Fact: Narcisco Rodriquez designed Carolyn Bessette Kennedy’s wedding dress and several of Michelle Obama’s iconic dresses when she was First Lady.
Bogotá, Colombia | Architect
Rogelio Salmona, a prominent architect from Bogotá, Colombia, is celebrated for his distinctive architectural style that seamlessly blends modern design with traditional Latin American influences. Salmona’s designs are characterized by their use of brick, water features, and lush greenery, creating spaces that evoke a sense of tranquility and cultural richness. His notable works, including the Torres del Parque residential complex and the Gabriel García Márquez Cultural Center, have profoundly impacted the Colombian architectural landscape. Salmona’s commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of his country while pushing the boundaries of contemporary design has solidified his legacy as a true visionary in the field of architecture.
Dominican Republic; Los Angeles, California | Architect
With roots in the Dominican Republic and based in Los Angeles, California, Carmen Suero is an architect whose work beautifully bridges diverse cultural influences. Her designs skillfully integrate modern aesthetics with an appreciation for local heritage and traditions. Suero is known for her thoughtful use of materials and spatial design, creating spaces that resonate with a sense of place and purpose. Her architectural vision is a testament to the power of cultural diversity in design, and her work reflects a commitment to creating aesthetically captivating and functionally meaningful spaces. Carmen Suero’s innovative designs testify to the boundless possibilities of cross-cultural architectural inspiration.
Suero is a principal at Good Project Co. and is actively involved in the local chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) where she currently leads the Latinx in Architecture (LiA) taskforce.
Manizales, Colombia | Architect
Simón Vélez, a distinguished architect from Manizales, Colombia, is renowned for his innovative use of bamboo in architectural design. His visionary work has transcended traditional building materials, showcasing bamboo’s strength and versatility. Vélez’s bamboo structures have not only garnered global acclaim but have also demonstrated the potential for sustainable and eco-friendly construction. His commitment to combining traditional techniques with contemporary design has not only transformed the architectural landscape but also revitalized local economies through the cultivation of bamboo. Simón Vélez’s influence reaches far beyond Colombia, as he continues to inspire architects and environmentalists worldwide.
Vélez designed a temporary bamboo structure wrapped in handwoven Moroccan textile that is part of the Venice Architecture Biennale. Take a closer look at the Majlis.
At Little, we are committed to moving toward authentic equity and diversity within the design profession. Hear from Little’s Meghana Joshi, Retail Senior Project Manager, about how we address inequities through representation in practice and mentorship.