Program Director for Advanced Studies
Faculty Advising Contact for Historic Preservation
Benjamin Ibarra-Sevilla is an Associate Professor of Architecture and Historic Preservation, Program Director Masters Advanced Studies, and Program Coordinator Masters of Science in Historic Preservation. He is an architect who graduated from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and holds a degree in Conservation and Restoration of Built Heritage from the Excellence Program of the Carolina Foundation and the University of Alcalá de Henares, Spain. Previous to UT Austin, Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla was part of the faculty at the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture where he taught design and building technology courses and was a Research Fellow of the Center for World Heritage Studies.
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 exploring 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 named "Mixtec 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 eight cities of Mexico and the United States. 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's Design Studios focus on the current challenges of historic preservation, including adaptive reuse and insertions of contemporary pieces of architecture in historic urban landscapes. His seminar "Secret Knowledge, Rediscovering the Methods and Techniques of the Old Master Builders" explores the relationships between geometry, space, and structure while learning the challenges faced by gothic and renaissance designers. Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla has a profound interest in building technology; he teaches Construction 2, which is the introductory course of the technology sequence within the undergraduate program. His Graphic Documentation course focuses on developing documentation projects of historic buildings following the HABS guidelines, and in recent years the work developed in this class has been under contract with the National Park Service. Within these documentation efforts, Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla works with students exploring traditional methods of documentation and digital technologies such as Laser Scanner and Digital Photogrammetry as vehicles for assessment and visualization of historic properties.
Before his career as an academic, Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla worked in restoration projects in Oaxaca, Mexico including the seventeenth-century Ex-Convento of Santo Domingo de Guzman, the sixteenth-century Open Chapel of San Pedro y San Pablo Teposcolula, the sixteenth-century Casa de la Cacica (also in Teposcolula) and the eighteenth-century Casa de la Ciudad Oaxaca City. Associate 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.
Professor Ibarra is the first Mexican to obtain tenure at UT School of Architecture.
- Masters 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 Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, (UNAM). Facultad de Arqutectura, Taller Max Cetto. 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
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
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.
- Ancient mason techniques, stereotomy, descriptive geometry, and architectural geometry informed by form-resistant structures
- Current challenges of historic preservation including adaptive reuse and insertions of contemporary pieces of architecture in historic urban landscapes