Hispanic Heritage Month: Five Latino Architects You Should Know  

Sep 15 2023

Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) is celebrated each year from September 15 through October 15 to recognize and honor the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the Latino community. To honor this year’s theme of building prosperous and healthy communities, we will be highlighting five Latino architects that have contributed to the growth of their communities through creative and innovative design.  

Luis Barragán  

Luis Barragán was born in 1902 in Guadalajara. He graduated with his degree in civil engineering and architecture and went on to become one of Mexico’s greatest architects, having designed his Casa Barragán, the Chapel of the Capuchinas, the Torres de Satélite, “Los Clubes” (Cuadra San Cristobal and Fuente de los Amantes), and the Casa Gilardi, among many others. Luis took inspiration from the bright colors used in traditional Mexican architecture, as well as the gardens and cities he toured in the Mediterranean and Middle East during the initial stages of his career in the 1920s.  

Sophia Gregoria Hayden Bennett 

Sophia Gregoria Hayden Bennett was born in Santiago, Chile in 1868. She spent most of her childhood in Chile and moved to Boston Massachusetts to live with her grandparents and continue her education. In 1886, she enrolled at MIT and became the first woman admitted to architecture program for her bachelor’s degree. At the time, MIT only had 24 female students in total at the institution. After graduating, Sophia went on to design the Women’s Building of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, her only architectural commission before she married and left the United States.  

Oscar Niemeyer 

Oscar Niemeyer was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1907 and designed more than 500 projects throughout the Americas, Africa, and Europe. He is best known for his design of government buildings in Brasília – a planned community that went on the become the capital of Brazil in 1960. A few of Niemeyer’s other notable works include the Gustavo Capanema Palace, Cathedral of Brasília, and the Brasília National Congress Building.  

Frida Escobedo  

Frida Escobedo opened her own firm in Mexico City in 2006. She specializes in designing and restoring urban spaces, housing, community centers, art galleries, and museums. She is the first Latina and first woman to ever design a wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A few of her other well-known designs include the Mar Tirreno 86, La Tallera, and her commissions for El Eco and Serpentine Pavillions

Eduardo Catalano 

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Eduardo Catalano was a well-renowned architect and professor of architecture at MIT. He pioneered the architectural development of shell structures, including his own home, The Raleigh House, in Raleigh, North Carolina. Catalano is most well-known for designing MIT’s Stratton Student Center, LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, the Julliard School of Music, and the U.S. embassies in Buenos Aires and Pretoria. 

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