tertuLiA a conversation with . . Latino Managing Principals – Small Firms

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April 17, 2024
6:30 PM
Urbano Architects
1224 Houston Avenue, Ste. 102
Houston, TX 77007

Brought to you by the Latinos in Architecture

A conversation with Latino managing principals of small sized firms
Wednesday, April 17, 6:30pm
Urbano Architects, 1224 Houston Avenue, Ste. 102, 77007

AIA Credit: 1.5 LU

Of the over 116,000 registered architects in the United States only 5.4 percent identify as Latino or Hispanic according to NCARB.  Latinos represent 18.9 percent of the total U.S. population, the nation's second largest ethnic group.  In Houston, Latinos represent 44.5 percent of the population.

Join the Latinos in Architecture (LiA) Committee for a series of intimate conversations engaging leadership from firms of different sizes on their efforts to increase that percentage, empower their Latino employees, develop and support a pipeline of future Latino architects from high schools and colleges, and giving a voice to Latinos.

The series begins with three Latino managing principals of small sized firms Luis Ayala, AIA (Luis Ayala Studio), Laura Carrera, AIA and Andres Utting, AIA (Urbano Architects) and Cesar Dominguez, AIA (Quadro Architecture). These leaders will discuss what motivated them to start their own firms, their values on hiring practices and how they built a culturally diverse firm and staff.

Happy Hour sponsored by Urbano Architects.

About the panelists

Luis Ayala, AIA is a Paraguayan architect that migrated to Houston in 2007. He has focused mostly on the design of education facilities for higher education institutions and K-12 schools. His expertise includes campus design, master planning, programming, and facility design.

Luis has many other skills that complement his abilities as a designer and architect. Sustainability is one of Luis’s stronger interests, and many of his projects have received design awards recognizing his innovation in green design. Luis is also an avid architectural photographer, recognized in 2017 by the Texas Society of Architects with the Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Architecture Trough the Media.

Luis fluently speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English. In 2016, Luis was distinguished by YAF Houston as a part Emerging Voices Exhibition and later the same year by AIA National as an Emerging Professional. Recently, in 2020 the AIA Houston awarded him with the Ben Brewer Award for Young Architects.

Laura Carrera, AIA is an architect and Partner at Urbano Architects. She is passionate about transforming underutilized historic buildings for modern use while maintaining the essence of their original character. Some of her notable past work includes the Knapp Chevrolet Showroom, Imperial Sugar Char House, New York Public Library Midtown Campus Renovation, Enoch Pratt Free Library Renovation, Cartier New York Renovation, and various K-12 additions and renovations in Texas. Laura is recognized for being a tenacious problem-solver for her clients and community, a dedicated mentor, and a historic preservation advocate. She serves as 2023-2025 Director for AIA Houston Board of Directors and Past President of the ACE Mentor Program Houston Board of Directors. She is the recipient of Preservation Houston’s Good Brick Awards, the 2018 AIA Houston Presidential Citation, the 2017 UTSA Distinguished Alumni Rising Star Award, and the 2011 UTSA Outstanding Graduate Student University Life Award.

César Domínguez, AIA is the principal of Quadro Architecture.  With over 30 years of experience in México and the USA, he has worked in design and construction that focuses on a range of commercial, educational, and residential designs.

As a Mexican native, César graduated from UANL (Universidad Automóma De Nuevo León) a public University in Monterrey, México. Upon graduation, Cesar immediately started his own design-build firm in Mexico, working on both residential and commercial projects. In 2002, he moved to Houston Texas with his family with the intention in becoming a registered architect in the U.S. and opening his own firm. Despite the challenges of a new culture, language barrier, and knowledge of the U.S. architectural and construction industry, Cesar obtained his architectural license in 2009.

Presently, César manages diverse types of projects from tenant improvements to industrial and commercial facilities. Through his own experiences and endeavors, Cesar participates in multiple non-profit associations and committees, as well as fundraisers for scholarships to help students achieve their own dreams in architecture. César continues to look for opportunities to positively impact the Houston community through his love and passion for architecture.

Andres Utting, AIA is a licensed architect passionate about the development of urban buildings that are both beautiful and functional. He has over 17 years of experience working with clients and large teams on complex projects. He is a licensed architect in both Texas and Florida and his past work include large-scale and mixed-used projects such as Washington DC’s Midtown Center. Andres is recipient of Preservation Houston’s Good Brick Awards and has also taught design studios at the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design.

Andres received his Master of Architecture from the University of Oregon where he specialized in urban design; researching and analyzing what creates healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. Prior to starting Urbano Architects, Andres worked as Senior Associate at SHoP Architects in New York City and as Managing Partner for ToolBox, an architecture firm in Managua, Nicaragua.