Beatriz Vergara Aller
Master of Science in Urban Design, First Year
Hometown: Valladolid, Spain
Educational Background: Bachelors + Master of Architecture
How did you get interested in your field?
Through my bachelors, I took several courses that addressed urbanism and I had an internship where all my tasks were related to it. I discovered that architecture is not only the building and its aesthetics, but also how it works within the city, responding to its conditions, adapting to the changes within it and how people move through it.
What was your background prior to coming to UTSOA?
My background has been a bit eclectic, but at the same time, it has shaped my interests and the person I have become. I completed my Bachelors + Masters in Architecture in Spain, and I studied abroad one year in France. Before coming to UTSOA, I worked at an architecture firm in France, where I finally decided that Urban Design was the career for me; I really loved it before, but moving and continuing studying can be a scary decision. Having a background in the professional field and several courses related to urban design in my bachelors really helped me to catch up in the masters quickly, but do not be scared if you are new but interested. My recommendation: go for it!
Why did you choose UTSOA?
My decision was clear since the beginning. UTSOA offers so many different electives courses for you to choose from, so you can make your own path the MSUD degree by taking courses that you are really interested in. In addition, the fact that UTSOA's faculty come from all over the world makes it fantastic to get a wide scope of different thoughts and perspectives about the same topics.
What has been your favorite class or thing about UTSOA so far?
Studios are great! You get to work with people from different programs who come to studio with different insights and perspectives, plus you get to learn things that you normally wouldn't in your more traditional classes. Working in groups is also great, and you get to apply everything you have learned in your more theoretical courses.
What are you learning right now that will help you in the future?
I hope to be able to envision and integrate what I learn into my future practice: methods on spatial context analysis, such as coherence, visibility, relationships, and understanding of communities in the fragmented metropolis. I'm particularly interested in how people navigate through the city and how designers provide a correspondence between social space and an accessible city.
What do you like best about Austin?
There is always something to do for people with various interests. Austin is a city where people from different parts of the world can come together and reflect on the culture of the city. There are fantastic music venues, many amazing places for food, the park system is remarkable, and there are endless opportunities to get out in nature, especially with all the swimming holes in and around Austin.
What kinds of activities and/or organizations are you involved in?
I recently got into biking since it is very easy to do in Austin. Every Thursday night, Social Cycling Austin organizes a different bike route where you get to know different neighborhoods and places around the city. They always do a park stop in the middle and a bar stop at the end, where you get to hang out with new people every week. They organize different rides every day of the week with different themes. The routes are very easy and at a nice speed; if you want to experience Austin in a different way, this is how to do it!
What are your career ambitions?
I have always envisioned working for a medium-large scale firm, where it is possible for me to combine my architecture and urban design skills and to work with a group of people from different backgrounds and educations to bring a project together. I would like to relate to both (architecture and urban design) on different scales because, as I said before, it is difficult for me to envision one without the other.