Re-Habitar La Ciudad Seminar

Latin American cities have been specially affected by urban sprawl, the rapid growth of the city away from the center into low-density, monofunctional, and car-dependent communities. OMINA believes that repopulating abandoned urban centers is key to improve the quality of life for city dwellers and reduce the ecological footprint. Re-Habitar la Ciudad Seminar gathered some of the most successful case studies of urban repopulation in Latin America in order to showcase how to counteract this sprawl, bringing the city back to life.

The Re-Habitar la Ciudad seminar held in San José, Costa Rica, on September 2017, showcased successful examples of urban repopulation projects that have significantly impacted the region through medium density models. All the selected projects belong to a generation of architects and entrepreneurs who challenge their practices to bring progressive ideas to life in order to improve the cities where they live and work.


Juan Gándara holds a Master’s Degree in Advanced Architecture from the IAAC University in Barcelona, Spain. He is a professor of Architectural Design at the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala.


Manuel Pineda holds a Master’s Degree in Public Space Design from the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain. He is a professor of Architectural Design at the Francisco Marroquín University in Guatemala.


Gándara and Pineda’s architecture firm SHOARQ uses what they call “Architectural Chemistry,” a formula that combines spatial, economic, social, geographic, climatic, urban, constructive, and technological elements to potentiate each project’s particular space.


Emilio Méndez blends global thinking and local flavor through his various public initiatives, ranging from projects of urban transformation – such as 4 Grados Norte in Guatemala City –  to movements that aim to promote citizen participation – such as GuateÁmala, Despertemos Guatemala and Tengo Algo que Dar. Mendez is the second generation to run the Costa Rica and Guatemala-based gastronomic concept Saúl, which he has transformed into an engaging lifestyle brand. Méndez is also the founder of Industrias Biella, a company that manufactures suits and corporate uniforms, and he holds degrees in Tailoring and Fashion Design from the University of the Arts London, UK.


Ignacio Mallol co-directs Mallol Arquitectos, an architecture firm that has contributed to the constructive transformation of Panama City’s urban, social, and economic life. Mallol’s work has been published in international architectural journals such as Archdaily, Plataforma de Arquitectura, Plot, and On Diseño magazine. He frequently teaches workshops and is called on to judge projects at the School of Architecture and Design of Latin America and the Caribbean (ISTHMUS). Casabella Magazine recently included Mallol in its anniversary issue “Architects under 30.” Mallol graduated with highest distinction from ISTHMUS in 2005, and went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Advanced Architectural Design (AAD) from Columbia University, USA, in 2008.


Jorge Ambrosi studied architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), where he graduated with honors. Ambrosi has led the Vertical workshops at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, and taught the Max Cetto workshop at the UNAM. Ambrosi was nominated for the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative in 2012. He obtained the Young Creators scholarship from the National Fund for Culture and the Arts in 2010, and participated in LEAGUE 03 with a piece entitled “Addition and Subtraction.” Ambrosi has received several awards throughout his career, including the Acknowledgement Prize at the Holcim Awards in 2011 for the ecological center “La Martinica”.


Gabriela Etchegaray graduated with honors with a degree in Architecture and Urban Planning from the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico. She holds a Master’s degree in Creative Management and Transformation of the City from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), Spain. Etchegaray obtained the Young Creators of Fonca scholarship in 2015, and was awarded the Moira Gemmill Prize for Emerging Architecture of The Architectural Review in 2016. She is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Criticism, Curatorship, and Conceptual Practices in Architecture at the Columbia Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, USA.


In 2007 Juan Carral established the architecture firm JC Arquitectura, where his work has been focused on housing, the renovation of buildings and city projects. Carral studied architecture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), and graduated with honors in 2004. His thesis won the Abraham Zabludovzky prize for the best thesis of the year. In 2005, Carral participated in the Young Creators program of FONCA under the mentorship of Miquel Adriá and Bernardo Gómez Pimienta. In 2008 he won the CEMEX Scholarship with which he completed a Master’s Degree on housing from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Barcelona, Spain, under the direction of Josep María Montaner and Zaida Muxí. His building FR43 was short-listed for the X Biennial of Mexican Architecture, in 2008 In 2013 Carral won a private contest for his master plan of 1000 homes and the first phase of 55 apartments in Cancún, Mexico. He was a guest judge for the 2014 Cemex Works Award and has collaborated with The Instituto del Fondo Nacional de la Vivienda para los Trabajadores (INFONAVIT), Mexico, on projects such as Regional Single Family Housing; 32 proposals; a redensification pilot project; and rural housing in Apan, Mexico.


Francisco Pardo founded the Mexico City-based architecture firm Francisco Pardo Arquitecto in 2016. He is currently a professor at the Institute of Architecture of Southern California (SCIARC), USA, where he directs the SCIARC-MX program. Pardo has previously been a professor of Architecture at the Anahuac University, Mexico, and at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, where he directed the housing workshop for four years. He held a Friedman visiting professorship at UC Berkeley, USA, in 2010, and has been a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Pardo obtained the scholarship for young creators of FONCA in 2001 and is a member of the National System of Creators since 2010. Pardo’s Ave Fénix fire station won the silver medal at the 2008 Mexico City Architecture Biennial, and it was awarded first place in the category Best Institutional Building at the International Design Festival that same year. In 2009, Pardo received the Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York. Pardo holds a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Columbia University, USA.


Marlo Trejos Hampf is the director and founder of Marlo Trejos Arquitectos (MTA), an architecture and urban design consulting firm based in San José, Costa Rica. MTA has designed and completed more than 300,000 square meters of property in Costa Rica, Uruguay and Panama. In 2008 Trejos was chosen to represent Central America in the fifth Ibero-American Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism in Lisbon, and in 2016, he won the biennial’s Interior Design category. Trejos’s master plan for the Avenida Escazú development in San José won the Urban Design category at the 2006 San José Architecture Biennial. In parallel to his professional practice, Trejos has taught at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico; University of Talca, Chile; the Autonomous University of Central America (UACA), Costa Rica; and Veritas University, Costa Rica. Trejos was a member of the Technical Commission for the Repopulation of San José and a member of the San José Posible platform, whose proposal for pedestrianization and improvement of the urban environment of San José’s downtown was created with funds donated by the European Union. His work has been featured in various media and his writing has been published in Costa Rica, Spain, China, and Brazil. Trejos is currently pursuing an international PhD in Regenerative Architecture at the Architecture, Design and Urbanism Faculty of UDELAR, Montevideo, Uruguay.

Architect Juan Carral talks about his projects in Cancún, Mexico.

Interviewed by Marlo Trejos, OMINA Foundation Chairman.

Guatemalan entrepreneur Emilio Méndez explains the transformation of Zona 4 Grados Norte. 

Interviewed by Marlo Trejos, OMINA Foundation Chairman.

Mexican architects Jorge Ambrossi and Gabriela Etchegaray explain their work in Colonia Condesa, Mexico.

Interviewed by Marlo Trejos, OMINA Foundation Chairman.