Rivera named chair of graduate architecture

She is co-founder of Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos

Mónica Rivera (Photo: Joe Angeles/Washington University)

Barcelona-based architect Mónica Rivera has been named chair of graduate architecture in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts at Washington University in St. Louis.

Rivera, who also serves as professor of practice, joined the Sam Fox School’s College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design as a visiting professor in 2015. She later served as co-coordinator of the school’s international housing studio, and remains a partner with Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos, the office she co-founded in 2001.

“Architecture is layered, both as an aesthetic and social endeavor,” said Carmon Colangelo, the Ralph J. Nagel Dean of the Sam Fox School. “Mónica has earned an international reputation for carefully crafted projects that combine environmental responsibility with rigorous attention to site, context and communal experience. We are very excited and proud that she is leading our graduate program in architecture.”

Born in Puerto Rico in 1972, Rivera earned bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1993 and 1994, respectively. She spent three years with Architecture Research Office in New York before earning her master’s in architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1999.

Prior to launching her own firm, Rivera worked for Ignasi de Solá-Morales and at the Editorial Gustavo Gili. She previously taught at the Elisava Escola de Disseny i Enginyeria in Barcelona and the University of Texas at Austin.

Two Cork Houses, Palafrugell, Girona, Spain. (Photo: José Hevia/courtesy of Emiliano López Mónica Rivera Arquitectos)

Last summer, Rivera and López’s Two Cork Houses were featured in the 14th Spanish Architecture and Urbanism Biennial. Set atop a steep Spanish hillside, the cross-laminated timber buildings are clad with thick cork panels that allude to surrounding cork trees and the area’s history of cork production. The panels also provide startlingly effective insulation, helping to lower energy consumption to less than a third of Spain’s national average.

Other completed works include private homes in Palafrugell, El Port de la Selva and Barcelona; social housing in Barcelona; the Hotel Aire de Bardenas in Tudela and tourist apartments in Santiago de Compostela; and public secondary schools in Tona and Begues. Ongoing projects include an assisted elderly care home in Barcelona, now under construction, and private residences in Mallorca and the Basque Country.

Other honors include the Young Architects Prize at the 10th Spanish Biennial, the Iberian-American Biennial of Architecture and Urbanism award, the FAD Architecture Award, and the Architectural Review (AR) Emerging Architecture Award. A monograph of their work recently was published by Quart Verlag in Switzerland.

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