Amenity Applewhite  @UTSOA

Javier Auyero

Javier is the Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Professor in Latin American Sociology at the University of Texas-Austin. His main areas of research, writing and teaching are political ethnography, urban poverty, and collective violence. He is the author of Poor People’s Politics (Duke University Press, 2000), Contentious Lives (Duke University Press, 2003), Routine Politics and Violence in Argentina (Cambridge University Press, 2007) and, together with Débora Swistun, Flammable: Environmental Suffering in an Argentine Shantytown (Oxford University Press, 2009). He received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation in 2000 and from the American Council of Learned Societies in 2008.

photo of Gabriel Diaz Montemayor

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor

Assistant Professor

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor, ASLA, is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the School of Architecture at the University of Texas Austin since 2013. Previously, Gabriel taught at The Design School of Arizona State University, Auburn University, and the Superior Institute for Architecture and Design (ISAD) of Chihuahua, Mexico. Gabriel holds a Master of Landscape Architecture degree from Auburn University and the Architect title from the Autonomous University of Chihuahua (UACH). He was a registered architect in the Municipality of Chihuahua from 2003-06. Gabriel's research, teaching, and creative activities are concentrated in Northern Mexico and the Southwest of the USA. His research explores public space as a social and environmental integrator in the context of arid North America and the hybrid cultures of the expanded border region between Mexico and the US through the means of multi-purpose landscape infrastructure, mobility, water management, public programs/services, and housing. His studio teaching exercises collaborative design through joint partnerships with public institutions working on real issues and projects with students. Gabriel has organized this kind of studio with the Planning Institutes of Chihuahua, Nogales, and Los Cabos in Mexico; and the cities of Phoenix, AZ, and Redwood City, CA. Gabriel also teaches Landscape Technology courses at UTSOA, and has taught classes on landscape representation and current issues and topics in architecture, landscape architecture, and urbanism. He has taught studios, design workshops, and lectured in various Universities of Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the USA, including: Woodbury University San Diego, Tec de Monterrey (ITESM) Campus Chihuahua, Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM), Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL), and the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico (PUPR). He has presented papers in conferences such as CELA (2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2015), ASEH (2011), ACSA (2008 and 2014), the National ASLA Annual Convention (2012), and CNU (2008). His work and writing have been published by Landscape Architecture Magazine (LAM), Domus Mexico, AULA Journal, and Arquine. He is also a regular collaborator of Archipills, an online magazine published by Mesa Editores and Archipielago de Arquitectura based in Colombia. Gabriel keeps a small practice in Chihuahua, Mexico, as partner of LABOR Studio, where he participates in urban design, landscape architecture, and urban planning projects and research. The work produced in the studio has won professional awards at the Arizona Chapter of the ASLA, including the Tabalaopa Master Plan (an innovative, high density, low income development) and the Design Guidelines for the Urban Edge of Chihuahua.

Amenity Applewhite  @UTSOA

William Doolittle

Bill received his Ph.D. in 1979 from the University of Oklahoma. He taught at Mississippi State University before joining the UT faculty in 1981, and has served as undergraduate advisor, graduate advisor (receiving UT's Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award in 2004), and department chair in the Department of Geography and the Environment. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has received distinguish scholarship awards from the Association of American Geographers and the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers. Doolittle regularly teaches courses on the Landscapes of Mexico and Caribbean America, the historical geography of the American Southwest, Field Techniques, and ecologically sustainable and indigenously developed agricultural strategies. Bill's research interests include landscapes, histories, and agricultural technologies in arid lands, particularly the American Southwest and Mexico.

photo of Benjamin Ibarra Sevilla

Benjamin Ibarra Sevilla

Assistant Professor

Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla is an Assistant Professor of Architecture  and Historic Preservation.  He is an architect graduated from National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and holds a degree on Conservation and Restoration of Built Heritage from the Excellence Program of the Carolina Foundation and the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain. His expertise involves case studies of ancient mason techniques, stereotomy, descriptive geometry, and architectural geometry informed by form-resistant structures. His most recent research work focuses on the transmission of building technology from Europe to the Americas focusing on the constructive and geometric analysis of sixteenth-century ribbed vaults in Mexico. His work in masonry, geometry and stereotomy has been awarded in Mexico  and the US and has been disseminated in various forums and journals of Europe, Latin America, and North America. His most recent book namedMixtec Stonecutting Artistry” published by the National Autonomous University of Mexico has received numerous awards and his exhibition holding the same name has been traveling for two years through seven  cities of Mexico and United States. This research work was awarded with the University of Texas/Coop. Hamilton Creative Research Award 2014. Benjamin has participated in developing assistance for world heritage cities such as Zanzibar in Tanzania, Baku in Azerbaijan, and the Batanes Islands in the Philippines. He recently participated with Ochsendorf DeJong & Block in the project “Beyond Bending” designing and constructing tile vaults exhibited at the Architecture Biennale in Venice 2016. To learn more about his research work visit this website
As an educator and designer, Benjamin is interested on the current challenges of historic urban landscapes including building adaptive reuse and insertions of contemporary pieces of architecture in historic cities. His recent courses have been supported by the National Park Service developing documentation projects of historic buildings and assessing structures for implementation of conservation strategies within the framework of Historic Landscapes. Within these documentation efforts, Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla works with students exploring traditional methods and digital technologies such as Laser Scanner and Digital Photogrammetry as vehicles for assesment and visualization of historic properties. 
Assitant Professor Ibarra-Sevilla has a passion for photography, he believes in this media and its potential as a design tool, a documentation tool, and as an art that captures space and time in one frame.


  • Master Degree in Conservation and Restoration of Built Heritage

University of Alcala de Henares and Carolina Foundation Excellence Program, Madrid, Spain. 2005

  • Licensed Architect with distinction. Professional degree to practice architecture

Taller Max Cetto. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (UNAM). Mexico City. 1994

 - “Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry / El arte de la cantería mixteca” Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. Bilingual (Spanish and English). 2014

Peer-Reviewed  Articles in Journals
 - “From Fretwork to Ribbed Vaults” Informes de la Construcción Vol. 65, Instituto Eduardo Torroja, Spain 2103  pg 65-80 Article in English and Spanish
 - “First ribbed vaults of the Americas: Indigenous people skills, construction and crafting processes in the Mixtec region of southern Mexico” Construction History Journal Vol 28, 2013. pg 1-27 Article in English
 - “La Capilla Abierta de Teposcolula: un Edificio Unico en el Mundo” Archivo Dominicano Editorial San Esteban, Salamanca, Spain. XXXIII, 2012 Article in Spanish
 - “Líneas y entramados estructurales; geometría de trazo para las bóvedas mixtecas renacentistas de Coixtlahuaca, Yanhuitán y Teposcolula en Oaxaca” Bitácora Arquitectura, Facultad de Arquitectura, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. No 25, November 2012. Article in Spanish
 - “The Hidden Face of the Vault: Unveiling the Expression of the Avant-Garde Through the Use of the Sphere in Teposcolula’s Open Chapel” Nexus, Architecture and Mathematics. Vol.15 Spring 2013. Article in     English

Book Chapters & Articles by Invitation - Contributions
 - "Construction History Research of Early Colonial Buildings in Central America, New Doors for Interpretation" Construction History Journal No. 29 p. 7-12, 2016
 - "The City of Oaxaca as World Heritage Site" Book in commemoration of the 475th anniversary of Oaxaca City, Casa de la Ciudad de Oaxaca. p. 9-31, 2007

Lectures by invitation
 - "El arte de la canteria mixteca" Keynote Lecture at th International Symposium on Cultural Heritage of Oaxaca, Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Oaxaca, Mexico
 - "The Mexican Gothic; 3d Scanning and Visualization three 16th-Century Churches in Oaxaca"  Keynote Lecture Modeling Medieval Vaults International Symposium University of Liverpool in London 
 - "El arte de la cantería mixteca" [Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry] at Universidad de Murcia, Spain
 - "Geometry, Gravity & Structure" University of Virginia 
 - “El arte de la cantería mixteca” Keynote Speaker at "Catedra Cumex Carlos Chanfon Olmos" Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez 
 - “Baroque in LatinAmerica” Speaker for the discussion panel at the exhibition. LLILAS 
 - “El arte de la cantería mixteca”  Escuela Superior de Arquitectura. Guadalajara, Mexico
 - “Ribbed Vaults and the Art of Construction”  School of Architecture, South Dakota State University
 - “La esteretomia de la piedra y la conservacion de edificios” National School of Conservation, Restoration and Museology, Mexico City
 - “El arte de la cantería mixteca”  School of Architecture, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City
 - “El arte de la cantería mixteca”  School of Architecture, Autonomous University “Benito Juarez” of Oaxaca, Oaxaca City. 
 - “Construction Intricacies of Sixteenth-Century Ribbed Vaults in Mexico”  Construction History Panel Minnesota AIA convention. Minneapolis MN
 - “La Geometría Fabrorum en la Cantería Mixteca del Siglo XVI; Estudios Esteretómicos de las Bovedas Nervadas de Yanhuitlán, Coixtlahuaca y Teposcolula” School of Architecture, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City.
 - “Fabrorum Geometries for Stonecutting Operarions; Analysis of Sixteenth-Century Vaults in the Mixteca, Mexico” Georgia Tech. Atlanta, GA.

Exhibitions and Creative Research 
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Traveling Exhibition presented within the framework of the Biennial Meeting of the Constriction History Society of America at at the School of Architecture, UT Austin (May – August 2016) ​
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Traveling Exhibition presented at Universidad Autonoma de Ciudad Juarez (April – June  2015)
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Traveling Exhibition presented at the School of Architecture, UT Austin (January – March 2015) 
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Traveling Exhibition presented at the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura Guadalajara City (August – October 2014)
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Traveling Exhibition presented at the Centro Cultural Clavijero in Morelia City (March – June 2014)
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Traveling Exhibition presented at the Instituto Cultural San Pablo Oaxaca, Oaxaca City (April - June 2013)
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Museum for Art and Sciences UNAM, Mexico City (September – December 2013)
-“Mixtec Stonecutting Artistry/El Arte de la Cantería Indigena” Goldstein Museum University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (August – October 2013).
-“Skew Arches, Cow Horns and Oblique Bridges; The Problem of the Trust to the Void” Exhibition at National Masonry Construction Conference at the University of Minnesota. 2011
-“The Cloud” Installation and Shelter for children at Silverwood Park, New Brighton, MN 2010




photo of Gregory Knapp

Gregory Knapp

Greg is associate professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment. He teaches courses on cultures, environmental change and sustainable development in Latin America, including a study abroad program in Cordoba, Argentina. His books and articles have dealt with a range of topics including cultural landscapes, ethnic territoriality, human impacts on mountains, and adaptive dynamics in traditional agriculture. Recent projects with students focus on food and farming in Puerto Rico, Bolivia, Mexico, Paraguay, and Ecuador; earlier projects have involved student work in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Venezuela, and Peru.

photo of Fernando Lara

Fernando Lara

Associate Professor

Fernando Luiz Lara is a Brazilian architect with degrees from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (BArch, 1993) and the University of Michigan (PhD, 2001). Prof. Lara's interests revolve around Latin American 20th century architecture with emphasis on the dissemination of its values beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries. In his several articles Prof. Lara has discussed the modern and the contemporary Brazilian architecture, its meaning, context and social-economic insertion. His latest publications include two award-winning books: Modern Architecture in Latin America (Hamilton Award runner up 2015) and Quid Novi (Anparq best book award 2016)

A member of the Brazilian Institute of Architects and the Brazilian DOCOMOMO, Lara has also been active in his native country as a critic, researcher and educator. A licensed architect in Brazil, Lara has designed many structures, alone or in partnership with others. His current interest in the favelas has turned into opportunities to engage with public policy at the municipal level as well as collaborations with local firms designing public spaces in informal settlements.

At the University of Texas at Austin Fernando Lara teaches seminars on 20th century Latin American architecture and urbanism, as well as studios related to the continent's current urban challenges.

photo of Sarah Lopez

Sarah Lopez

Assistant Professor

Sarah Lopez is a built environment historian, as well as a migration scholar. Lopez' research focuses on the impact of migrant remittances—dollars earned in the U.S. and sent to families and communities in Mexico—on the architecture and landscape of rural Mexico and urban USA. By approaching architectural history within the context of migration, Lopez examines multiple sites across international borders, arguing that we must examine the spatial and built environment histories of discrete places simultaneously. Her book entitled, The Remittance Landscape: The Spaces of Migration in Rural Mexico and Urban USA was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2015 and won the 2017 Kostof Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians. Her 2015 book chapter, "Putting Vista Hermosa on the Map: Migrant Boosterism in Distant Homelands," won the 2017 Bishir Article Prize from the Vernacular Architecture Forum.

Lopez is currently working on two projects. The first examines the architecture of immigrant detention facilities in Texas, a project commenced in partnership with the Humanities Action Lab (HAL) States of Incarceration national-exhibit. Her class contribution to the exhibition is titled Spatial Stories of Migration and Detention, and was recently exhibited at UT Austin. The second explores the evolution of an informal binational construction industry linked to thirty years of continuous migration between Mexico and the US. 

Lopez is embarking on a new teaching-research project mapping the cultural landscapes of historic railroad connections between Monterrey, Mexico and Austin, Texas. Broadly speaking, she teaches about U.S. cultural landscapes, the interface between migration, architecture, and cities, the use of interdisciplinary methods to study space and society, and world architectural history. She also teaches about how to incorporate ethnographic methods into built environment research. She received the 2015 Outstanding Teaching award from LLILAS, and the 2016 Outstanding Teaching Award from the School of Architecture. In 2017, Lopez was a Princeton-Mellon Fellow in Architecture, Urbanism, & the Humanities.

photo of Juan Miró

Juan Miró

Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs

Professor Juan Miró, FAIA, LEED AP was born in Barcelona and obtained his professional degree at the Escuela de Arquitectura of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. In 1989 he earned a Fulbright Scholarship to complete a post-professional Master’s degree at Yale University.  He has been a faculty member at the UTSOA since 1997 where he teaches architectural and urban design, construction, and Mexican Architecture. Since 1998, Professor Miró has directed Studio Mexico, a program at the UTSOA that affords students the opportunity to travel to Mexico to study Mexican architecture and design. Professor Miró has lectured and written on Mexican Architecture with a special focus on the ancient city of Teotihuacan.

Professor Miró is also a principal and founder of Miró Rivera Architects, an architectural firm based in Austin. The firm works on a variety of projects spanning from urban design to institutional and commercial buildings to residential architecture. The work of Miró Rivera Architects has been nationally and internationally recognized, garnering over 70 design awards, among them 28 AIA awards and 8 international awards, including two prestigious AR Emerging Architecture Awards from the Architectural Review in London. The work of the firm has also earned features in numerous publications worldwide and has been exhibited in venues such as the Museum of Architecture in Frankfurt, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) in London, and the Aedes Gallery in Berlin. In his teaching, practice, and research Professor Miró explores the connections between architectural design, place making, Nature, and the relevance of history.  He regularly lectures about his work in professional and academic settings in the US and abroad.

Professor Miró was named a Distinguished Professor by the Association of Collegiate Schools of  Architecture (ACSA). He is also a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers of the University of Texas at Austin. Other teaching awards include the Texas Excellence in Teaching Award and the ACSA New Faculty Teaching Award.

Professor Miró is an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and has served as a juror for many AIA design award competitions at the national, state, and local levels. In 2011, Professor Miró was elevated to the organization’s College of Fellows in recognition of his contributions to society as an educator and a designer.

Prior to settling in Austin, Professor Miró worked on the design of a wide range of projects in Spain with his late father, Antonio Miró, and at Gwathmey Siegel and Associates in New York City from 1991-1996.

photo of Bjorn Sletto

Bjorn Sletto

Associate Professor

Bjørn received his doctorate in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. He has a master’s degree in Geography from the University of Kansas and a BA in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. A native of Ål, Norway, Bjørn’s research focuses on indigenous land rights, environmental and social justice, and alternative planning approaches, both in the United States and in Latin America. He is particularly interested in the dichotomies and tensions between local knowledge and traditional environmental management systems, and formal planning and management approaches. He has lived and worked in indigenous villages and border cities in Venezuela, investigating environmental conflicts and land rights struggles and conducting participatory mapping projects with the Pemon in the Gran Sabana and Yukpa in the Sierra de Perijá. As the director of the Institute of Latin American Studies’ (LLILAS) Research Initiative in Participatory Mapping, Bjørn works closely with partner institutions in South America to further international scholarship on representational politics and social justice in vulnerable communities. He is also engaged with research on informality and community development in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, focusing on the role of critical pedagogy for insurgent planning in neoliberal contexts. In addition to his international work, Bjørn examines the relationship between pedagogy, planning practice, and environmental and social justice in low-income communities in Texas. He collaborates with the environmental justice organization PODER in East Austin, focusing on children’s perceptions and knowledge of environmental hazards and the planning implications of environmental justice activism in Austin.

Bjørn teaches Geographic Information Systems, environmental and social justice, public space theory, and seminars and studio courses focusing on Latin American planning and development. As coordinator of the PhD program in Community and Regional Planning, he also teaches core courses in planning theory and academic practice. Through his partnership with the environmental justice organization PODER, Bjørn offers critical service learning courses where students investigate issues of social and environmental justice in partnership with community members. He also teaches studio courses in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where students work closely with community leaders, activist organizations and public officials in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to address environmental and social vulnerability in the informal settlement of Los Platanitos. In spring 2008, students conducted a risk and vulnerability assessment; in spring 2010, a second group of students built on this study and developed a participatory solid waste management plan; in spring 2012, students built on this work to initiate a vermicomposting feasibility study with an EPA P3 Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and in 2014 students conducted an outcome assessment of the composting project and an ethnobotanical study to consider the role of composting for food security and green space development in Los Platanitos.

Bjørn is an associated faculty member in the Department of Geography and the Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS), University of Texas.

Amenity Applewhite  @UTSOA

Rebecca Torres

Rebecca is an associate professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment and has worked on diverse topics related to rural development and reduction of poverty in Latin America and in the Southern United States. Her research includes migration, agricultural change, and touristic development in developing countries in the context of globalization. She is currently conducting a comprehensive research, education, and community support project focused on rural transformation and Latino migration in the Southern United States and Mexico supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Amenity Applewhite  @UTSOA

Peter Ward

Peter is a professor in the Department of Sociology and the LBJ School of Public Affairs. His publications include major texts on self-help housing, land and housing markets, urban planning, politics and governance. Since 2006 he has led the initiative to create the Latin American Housing Network which he coordinates at the University of Texas at Austin and which comprises an eleven city (nine-country) study of analysis and policy making in the old (now) consolidated irregular settlements that formed 30 years ago. Indeed, the photograph of Peter was taken in 2009 in front of the dwelling in a former squatter settlement in which he rented rooms as a doctoral student some 35 years ago. In addition, his current work is funded by the Ford Foundation and the Texas Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs and focuses upon housing sustainability in colonias and similar types of self-help settlements in Texas. This work provides graduate research opportunities for students working on their Masters and doctoral degrees.

photo of Patricia Wilson

Patricia Wilson



Dr. Wilson's research in sustainable community development focuses on individual and social transformation through civic engagement and collaborative action. She uses the methods of appreciative inquiry, social narrative, and participatory action research, and draws upon the theories of communicative action, dialogue and deliberation, and holistic emergent systems. She directs an ongoing action research project on sustainable community development in Mexico. Dr. Wilson teaches participatory planning and international sustainable social development, along with a freshman signature class on participatory democracy. 


Dr. Wilson holds a B.A. in economics from Stanford and a Master's and Ph.D. in Planning from Cornell. She has worked in economic development planning at the local and Federal level, for the City of San Francisco and the Economic Development Administration in Washington, DC. She has also worked in grassroots community development in Hispanic neighborhoods in San Francisco and Austin, and was the principal investigator for a national study of subemployment and the urban underclass. At the University of Texas, she designed the economic development concentration in planning and developed the Joint Master's Program in Planning and Latin American Studies.

Dr. Wilson began her international development work in the mid-1970s in Latin America, where she taught regional economics at the Universidad Catolica in Lima, Peru, and regional development planning at the Universidad Nacional de Ingenieria, also in Lima. Her research and consulting have focused on integrated regional development, export-led development, decentralization and municipal strengthening, and most recently democratization and participation. Besides Peru, she has worked in Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Colombia, Bolivia, and Chile. From 1990 to 1992 she served as president of the Sociedad Interamericana de Planificacion, the professional society of Latin American planners. She has published five books and numerous articles on planning and development, including Exports and Local Development: Mexico's New Maquiladoras (1992) and Development from Within: Facilitating Collective Reflection for Sustainable Development (2008).