Advisory Team

Gina Bleck AIA AUA earned a Bachelors in Architecture from the Boston Architectural College and an executive masters in leadership from GU’s McDonough School of Business in 2015. She has worked in the design and construction industry for nearly thirty years. Her internship began in architectural firms, although she comes from a family of electricians. Institutional work has been her passion, leading her to roles in owner enterprises beginning in 1999 at Rutgers University. She joined Georgetown University’s Planning & Facilities Management team in 2009 and serves as the Asst. VP for Design & Construction, overseeing a staff of design and construction professionals as well as the aesthetics of the university’s built environment.

Emily Marthinsen FAIA Campus Architect at the University of California, Berkeley, recently retired as Berkeley’s Assistant Vice Chancellor for Physical and Environmental Planning. Marthinsen’s portfolio included project planning and design, sustainability, city and private development partnerships and campus long range development planning. She continues to guide campus design and lead strategic planning initiatives.

Marthinsen has a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Chicago and Master of Architecture from UC Berkeley. She is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and a member of the Society for Campus and University Planning (SCUP) and the Association of University Architects (AUA). She is past Chair of the National AIA’s Public Architects Advisory Group and is a frequent presenter and writer on campus planning issues.

Joseph Taylor AIA is a licensed architect in Washington, DC with more than 40 years of experience in private practice specializing in residential, ecclesiastical and healthcare building types. Prior to joining Georgetown University, he headed his design firm, JET Architects, and was an adjunct professor at Howard University teaching Design Studio in the School of Architecture. He holds a Master of Architecture in Healthcare Design & Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Bachelor of Architecture from Howard University.

Since joining Georgetown University in 2002, he has worked closely with leadership to coordinate student, faculty and staff projects. He served on the Washington, DC Historic Preservation Review Board from early 2007 to March 2018 and has served on the DC Board of Architecture and Interior Design.

First Round Selection Committee

Sam Garcian AIA Received his BArch from University of Texas Austin in 2004 with broad experience working in recognized architectural firms developing projects for medical, educational, municipal, federal, mixed-use urban, commercial, residential and religious settings. He now is the Principal at Sam Garcia Architects in McAllen, creating urban design solutions focused on fostering high levels of social interaction and land use intensity. Member of the Texas Society of Architects, Leadership McAllen, Futuro McAllen and many other organizations, Sam is editor of Guerrilla Architect Magazine, Futuro: NOW Newsletter and was an invited speaker to TEDX McAllen.

Martha Lopez-Hinojosa AIA Housed in the Office of Cantu Construction, Marty Hinojosa is the principal and founder of FiRM Consultants, Inc Hinojosa is responsible for overseeing the work of the Design Department at Cantu Construction. Working with them for eleven years, Marty is accountable for design development, construction documents and construction observation of commercial projects. She received her Environmental Design degree from Texas A & M University in 1988 and earned a Master’s degree in Management with an emphasis in Sustainability from New England College in Henniker, New Hampshire in 2013. Her most recent projects include, lead architect for HEB Park Pro Soccer Stadium and the lead architect at the Bert Odgen Arena.

Marianella Q. Franklin AIA joined UTRGV’s legacy institution in 2003 to manage projects for Facilities, Planning and Construction. In 2009, she founded the Office for Sustainability and now is the UTRGV Chief Sustainability Officer. Under her leadership, UTRGV has forged forward in creating a sustainable development platform for the University and the region it serves, influencing partnerships nationally and globally. Franklin has a BArch from Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Monterrey, Mexico.

Robert S. Simpson AIA is a registered architect and partner in the firm of Boltinghouse Simpson & Assoc., Inc. located in McAllen. He received his BArch degree from UTAUS in 1975. He has twice been President of the LRGV Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, former President and current board member of McAllen South Rotary Club, former Director of McAllen Chamber of Commerce, former President of Valley Land Fund, current board member of the Museum of South Texas History, and current board member of the City of McAllen’s Quinta Mazatlan Citizen Advisory Board among many other contributions to the community.

Second Round - Winner Selection Committee

Abril Denise Balbuena López Is the Director of the Architecture Academic Program in the Universidad de Monterrey as well and Director of the Master’s Program on Advanced Architecture. Received her BArch from Universidad of Monterrey and holds an MS in Sustainable Construction Technologies from the University of Nottingham in UK. She has experience in design and architecture collaborating with several independent organizations and is the founding member of ANTAL Environmental Consultants, dedicated to energy efficiencies and reducing environmental impact in construction. She has been awarded for her projects based on construction standards with low-carbon emissions, namely “Passivhaus”.

Fernanda Canales is an architect, designer, critic and curator of Mexican architecture. She studied architecture at the Universidad Iberoamericana, holds an MA from the Escuela Tecnica superior de Arquitectura in Barcelona and a PhD in Architecture from the UPM. She has broad experience both as a professor, jury member in international competitions and the creation of recognized projects collaborating with studios in Tokyo and Barcelona. Her design has been widely recognized and awarded. Canales has published several architectural books, has led roles as a museographer and curator. Her personal vision towards construction is based on searching what is essential. For her work, Canales has received numerous distinctions.

Elizabeth Danze AIA is a Fellow and Distinguished Teaching Professor in Architecture at UT Austin. Danze is a Principal with Danze Blood Architects and her work integrates practice and theory across disciplines by examining the convergence of sociology and psychology with the tangibles of space and construction. Co-Editor or Architecture and Feminism among other important publications. Recipient of the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, the Texas Society of Architects Edward J Romieniec Award for Outstanding Educational Contributions. She received a BArch. from the University of Texas at Austin and a MArch. from Yale University.

Alma Du Solier AIA is a Mexican-American Landscape Architect and the Studio Director at Hood Design Studio, an award-winning cultural practice based in Oakland, CA, which merges landscape architecture, public art, and urban design. She is also a registered Architect in her native country Mexico. Alma’s design approach builds on her dual design background and her interest on the meaningful integration of design with site and culture. Alma has a Bachelor’s in Architecture from ITESM Campus Monterrey (Mexico), and a Master’s degree in Landscape Architecture from the UCLA, Berkeley. She has been practicing in the U.S. since 1999, where she has been the lead designer for a wide range of projects. She is one of Board Directors for the Landscape Architecture Foundation (LAF) since 2017.

Robert Gonzalez Ph.D., AIA A native of Laredo, Texas, is a registered architect and an architectural historian. Currently serving as the director of Texas Tech University’s El Paso Program of Architecture, located just blocks from the US-Mexico border and near Tornillo’s tent city for migrant children. He has also taught at Florida International University, Tulane University, and the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. González is also the founding editor of the journal AULA: Architecture & Urbanism in Las Americas. Specializes in borderland architecture and has published broadly on Pan-American and Latin American modern architecture. He completed his undergraduate studies at UT Austin, and his graduate and doctoral work at MIT and UC Berkeley. His book Designing Pan-America: U.S. Architectural Visions for the Western Hemisphere has received broad recognition. He has served in numerous boards, including the Society of Architectural Historians.

Rafael Longoria AIA is an ACSA Distinguished Professor at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture of the University of Houston. Longorias’ areas of research include economic determinants of urban form, and architecture and planning in the cities of the American Southwest and Mexico, with a particular interest in sustainability, cultural hybridity, and public spaces. Among his current projects are Sustainable Communities Design Initiative, AULA: Architecture and Urbanism in Las Americas, Galveston Hurricane Reconstruction Projects. Longoria holds a BA in Architecture and History of Art by Rice University, a BArch from Rice University and an MBA form UT Austin.

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