Gabriel Diaz Montemayor

Assistant Professor

Supplementary Title

Graduate Adviser for Landscape Architecture

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor 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 studios with the Planning Institutes of Chihuahua, Nogales, Los Cabos, Hermosillo, and Saltillo in Mexico; and the cities of Phoenix, AZ, and Redwood City, CA. Gabriel also teaches the Landscape Technology I course in the MLA core sequence. Every other year Gabriel teaches a course titled Latin American Landscapes, studying public space in the region. Gabriel 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 and Hermosillo, Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM), Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (UANL), Universidad Marista de Merida, 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, Progressive Planning, and Arquine. 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.
Gabriel was recognized with the 2017 UT Austin School of Architecture Outstanding Teaching Award for Studio Instruction.
Photo by EPNAC.com 


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. Previous to UT Austin, Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla was part of the faculty at the University of Minnesota's School of Architecture where he taught desing and building technlogy 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 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 Artistrypublished 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 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 renassaince designers. Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla has a profound interest on building technology, he teaches Construction 1 which is the introductory course of the technology sequence within the graduate 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 assesment and visualization of historic properties. 
Before his career as an academic, Prof. Ibarra-Sevilla worked in restoration projects in Oaxaca, Mexico including the sventeenth-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 in Oaxaca City. 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.



Jessica Weitzel  @UTSOA

Fernando Lara

Associate Professor

Supplementary Title

Director, Graduate Program in Architectural History

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.

[file:owner:field_full_name]  @UTSOA

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.


Juan Miró


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, where he was awarded the William Edward Parsons Memorial Medal.  He has been a faculty member at the UT School of Architecture since 1997.

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. In his teaching, practice, and research Professor Miró explores the connections between architectural design, placemaking, nature, and the relevance of history.  He regularly lectures about his work in professional and academic settings in the US and abroad.

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 firm has garnered over 80 design awards, including the AR Emerging Architecture Award, the Texas Architecture Firm Award, and 34 local, state and national AIA Awards. Miró Rivera Architects was awarded the firm achievement award by the Austin AIA in 2006, and received the Texas Society of Architects’ Architecture Firm Award in 2016.

Emerging as one of the leading new architectural voices in the nation, Miró Rivera has represented new architecture from the United States at exhibitions at the Museum of Architecture in Frankfurt and at the Aedes Gallery in Berlin. Their work has been extensively featured worldwide in numerous exhibitions and many prestigious publications, including Architectural Record, The Architectural Review, Architectural Digest, The New York Times, ArchDaily and the third volume of Phaidon’s 10 x 10 book series.

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


- Award for Outstanding Educational Contributions, Texas Society of Architects

- Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Texas System

- Academy of Distinguished Teachers, The University of Texas at Austin

- Professor of Excellence, The University of Texas at Austin

- Distinguished Professor, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture

- Harwell Hamilton Harris Fellow, The University of Texas at Austin

- Faculty Scholarship Award, The University of Texas at Austin

- Outstanding Teacher Award (Studio), The University of Texas at Austin

- Texas Excellence Teaching Award, The University of Texas at Austin


- College of Fellows (FAIA), American Institute of Architects

- AD100: Top 100 International Architects & Designers, Architectural Digest

- Silver Medal, Texas Tech University, Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society

- Austin Under 40 Award

- Fulbright-MEC Scholarship

- The William Edward Parsons Memorial Medal, Yale University


Bjorn Sletto

Associate Professor

Supplementary Title

Graduate Adviser for Community & Regional Planning

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.


Patricia A. 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).