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Pushing Perspectives: Can We Make Preservation Relevant in Advancing Social Justice?

December 1, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

In an effort to address equity and diversity in our community and profession, PA is launching a new lecture series: “Pushing Perspectives.” This (currently) virtual series seeks to provide thoughtful conversations on the state of the preservation profession and explore methods that can be incorporated into our practice to address inclusivity and equity.

The inaugural event will be a panel discussion titled “Pushing Perspectives: Can We Make Preservation Relevant in Advancing Social Justice?”. Three former Fitch Thesis Grant Prize winners will present their theses, all of which address the lecture’s theme, and a moderated panel discussion will follow.

The panelists include:

Laura Groves, ’15

  •  “Is there a Role for Preservation in a Favela?”

Alberto Sanchez-Sanchez, ’16

  • “Behind the Ecce Homo: Rural Development Policy and the Effects of Depopulation on the Preservation of Spanish Heritage”

Tonia Sing Chi, ’18

  • “Building Reciprocity: A Grounded Theory of Participation in Native American Housing and the Perpetuation of Earthen Architectural Traditions”

The discussion will be moderated by Maria de la Torre, ’16, who is currently a Project Manager at Hester Street Architects in New York City.

Registration for this free event is via Zoom, using the link below:

Register for this free event here

Lead image: Mud plastering workshop at Ohkay Owingeh (2012) for the Owe’neh Bupingeh Restoration Project. Tania Hammidi, Photographer


Laura Groves van Onna is the Historic Preservation Planner for the Town of Palm Beach. She has acquired experience in the public and private sectors of preservation and planning over the past 10 years. Her endeavors have been enriched by working for government institutions in Kansas, for Columbia University in the City of New York, for the City of Rio de Janeiro, for private firms and non-profit organizations in Dallas as well as Los Angeles, for the City of Fresno and California State University, Fresno. Laura is an alumna of Columbia University, where she earned her Master’s degrees in Historic Preservation and Urban Planning. Her passion for these fields was sparked by a semester abroad in Rome during her undergraduate education at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she earned her Bachelor’s degrees in Architecture Studies and Art History/Criticism.

Alberto Sanchez Sanchez is a PhD candidate in Architecture at UC Berkeley. A licensed architect in Spain, he holds a professional degree in Architecture from Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and a MS in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, where he studied as a Fulbright scholar. Prior to starting his PhD, he was a Program Associate at World Monuments Fund in New York City.

Alberto is also the founder of @casadepueblo, a bilingual Instagram diary that records the restoration of a seventeenth-century house in his rural hometown in Spain.

Tonia Sing Chi’s work explores the link between place-based building technologies and collective, cross-cultural approaches to design and preservation. She is a practicing architectural designer, researcher, and educator with broad experience in natural building, subsistence farming, and community-centered models of practice. She has taught design-build and furniture making at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design and partnered with many social-justice organizations advocating for food and housing security in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is from. Tonia is an editor for Dialectic, a peer-reviewed and peer-mentored journal on decolonizing architectural pedagogy. She is also a founding member of Nááts’íilid Initiative, an Indigenous-led alliance-driven community development collaborative. Their mission is to strengthen the cultural and economic resilience of Dinétah through self-reliance initiatives in the built environment. Tonia holds an M.Arch and an M.S. Historic Preservation from Columbia University GSAPP.

Alumna Maria de la Torre, ’16, will moderate the panel. Maria is an architect trained at the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia. Following her graduation, she spent several years working in architecture, construction and participatory design through her own practice, as well as in private and non-profit organizations in Bogotá. She moved to NYC and graduated from the Historic Preservation program at Columbia University in 2016 where she explored participatory planning processes and community preservation through installation art. She is currently a Project Manager at Hester Street Architects in New York City.


December 1, 2020
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

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