Leading Mexico City Architect to Give the Frank Talbot Jr. Visiting Professor Lecture

February 07, 2007

Feb. 7, 2007 -- Architect Mario Schjetnan, whose work blends design, nature and culture, will deliver the Frank Talbot Jr. Visiting Professor Lecture, “An Urbanism of Landscape/Culture/Water,” on Friday, Feb. 16, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, Campbell Hall, Room 158.

Schjetnan is the chairholder this year of the Frank Talbott Jr. Visiting Professorship, a position that rotates among the University’s schools. He is leading a class of architecture and landscape students to Mexico City during spring break to explore design alternatives for future development in the Zumpango region north of Mexico City, a massive housing project that forms part of the city’s low-cost housing sprawl. The trip, part of the spring semester class called “Agua,” will focus on water in the region and specifically recycling and water treatment within neighborhood blocks to restore Zumpango’s contaminated lagoon.

Together with José Luis Pérez, Schjetnan founded GDU — Grupo de Diseno Urbano — in 1977 in Mexico City with projects in landscape architecture, architecture and urban design. GDU’s projects have received awards in Mexico, Argentina, the United States and Italy and have been widely published in periodicals and books in the Unites States, Europe, Japan and Latin America.

GDU’s design philosophy involves an interdisciplinary approach to urban or rural environmental design that seeks to create a balance with nature while carefully looking to local culture, climate and surroundings and involving the participation of the client or user.

Schjetnan was born in Mexico City. He studied architecture at the National University of Mexico and then received a master’s degree in landscape architecture with an emphasis on urban design at the University of California, Berkeley in 1970. In 1985 he was appointed Loeb Fellow in advanced environmental studies by the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
For more information contact Alice Keys at (434) 924-7019 or eak3n@virginia.edu.