Visual Arts Facility 620


Professor, Public Culture and Urbanism, Visual Arts Department
Director, UCSD Center for Urban Ecologies
Co-director, UCSD-Blum Cross-Border Initiative, University of California, San Diego
Co-Director, Civic Innovation Lab, City of San Diego

Teddy Cruz is recognized internationally for his urban research of the Tijuana-San Diego border, advancing border immigrant neighborhoods as sites of cultural production, from which to rethink urban policy, affordable housing and civic infrastructure. His investigation of this geography of conflict has inspired a practice and pedagogy that emerges from the particularities of this bicultural territory and the integration of theoretical research, pedagogy and design production. His practice and research convene knowledges from across the fields of architecture and urbanism, environmental and social practice, political theory and urban policy, visual arts and public culture, and mediate the interface between top down institutions (governments, universities, foundations) and bottom-up socio-economic, cultural and environmental intelligence embedded in communities.

Teddy Cruz was born in Guatemala City. He began studying architecture at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City and continued his studies at California State Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo (B.Arch, 1987) with a year of studies spent in Florence, Italy under Christiano Toraldo DiFrancia, founder of avant-garde group Superstudio. He completed his architectural education at Harvard University GSD (M.Des.S. 1997) and established his San Diego research-based architectural practice, estudio teddy cruz in 2000. From 1994 to 2000 he was founding director of the LA/LA Latin America / Los Angeles studio, an experimental workshop at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. From 2000-05, he was Associate Professor of Architecture at Woodbury University, where he began the Border Institute (BI) to further research on cross-border urban dynamics in the San Diego-Tijuana region. He is currently a Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego, where he co-founded the Center for Urban Ecologies with urban curator Kyong Park in 2010; and co-founded the Blum Cross-Border Initiative with political theorist Fonna Forman in 2013. He is also presentlly a special advisor to the City of San Diego on Urban and Public Initiatives.

He has taught numerous design studios and seminars in universities in the US and abroad, including the GSD at Harvard University, the Berlage Institute in Rotterdam, the Ecole Special D’Architecture in Paris, City College in New York City; the Metropolis program at the CCCB in Barcelona; the Public Interest Design program at Portland State University; the University of Anyang, South Korea, the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and the Architectural Research program at Goldsmith’s in London. He has lectured widely at renowned cultural institutions including the Tate Modern in London, the Museum of Modern Art in Sydney, Australia and the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, as well as such prestigious keynote lectures as the L’Enfant Lecture by the American Planning Association, the 2013 Istanbul Art Biennial and TED-Global in Edinburgh .

Awards and Honors

Teddy has received many awards for his work including the prestigious Rome Prize in Architecture in 1991, becoming a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome; various American Institute of Architecture Honor Awards, Progressive Architecture Awards from Architecture Magazine in 2001 and 2004. He has also received The Architectural League of New York Young Architects Forum Award and the Robert Taylor Teaching Award from the ACSA. In 2004-05 he was the first international recipient of The James Stirling Memorial Lecture On The City Prize, sponsored by the CCA in Montreal and the London School of Economics. In 2006, he was selected as one of eight “Emergent Voices” in architecture by the Urban League in New York City and received the second Prize in The Third Rotterdam Architecture Biennial. In 2011, he received a US Artist award and became a United States Artist Fellow; received a “Global Award for Sustainable Architecture,” by the French National Museum of Architecture in partnership with the UNESCO; and was selected by the FORD Foundation to receive their “Visionary Leader Award.” Most recently, he was named one of the 50 Most Influential Designers in America by Fast Company Magazine and received the 2013 Architecture Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City.

Civic Engagement

Teddy has been involved in many civic and cultural advocacy groups at local, national and international scales. He has been member of board of directors of C-3, one of San Diego’s oldest advisory citizen groups on urban and environmental policies. He was appointed by San Diego Mayor to serve as a member of the board of directors of San Diego’s Center City Development Corporation where he served until 2008. He was on the advisory committee for the Mies Van Der Rohe Award for Latin American Architecture and sits on the International Editorial Board of AD Magazine in London, the Board of Directors of the Buell Center on American Architecture at Columbia University, the Artists Council of the Hammer Museum of Art in Los Angeles, and the Executive Council of the UCSD Center on Global Justice where he is also a Senior Fellow. He has served as advisor for two major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern in New York City: “Foreclosed: The Re-Housing of the American Dream,” and “Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for expanding Mega Cities”. He has consulted various cities on issues of public space and culture, including Buenos Aires, Argentina, Medellin, Colombia and Hudson, New York. He is currently special advisor on Urban and Public Initiatives for the City of San Diego.


His work has been published in numerous architectural journals and newspapers, including DOMUS, Art Forum, Metropolis, The New York Times, Progressive Architecture, Architecture Record, Praxis Magazine, VERB, Yale Perspecta and Harvard Design Magazine; and his writings have been included in important books edited by such prominent authors as Michael Sorkin, Bruce Mau, Rebecca Solnit, Andrew Ross, Ananya Roy, Anudartha Mathur and Andrea Phillips; and in compendia and disciplinary readers such as the Shaping The City and The Visual Culture Reader. Several exhibition catalogues have included his writing and visualizations including Creative Time’s Living as Form.

He was editor of a special issue on the Architecture of the Borderlands for

the British Journal AD Architectural Design, and co-editor of a collection of essays on informality and shifting practices in Informal Market Worlds (NAI). He is currently completing a monograph encompasing the scope of his work in the last decade, to be published by Metropolis Books - DPA, as well as various essays and collections that link architecture, public culture and political theory.


His architectural and artistic work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at important cultural venues such as The Centro Cultural de Tijuana, The Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, The Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The San Francisco Art Institute, Casa de America in Madrid, Spain,  and The PARC Foundation. In the last few years, Teddy Cruz was invited to participate and exhibit at the Istanbul Art Biennial, the Auckland Triennial and Madrid Abierto 2010 in Spain, the Architecture Biennials in Rotterdam, Lisbon and Shenzhen, and in 2008 represented the US in the American Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. His work was selected, among eleven other projects worldwide, in Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement  at The Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he has also exhibited in numerous other important exhibitions, including Home Delivery, a major show on prefabrication and housing and in 9+1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design. He is currently co-producing with URBAM-EAFIT a Diagram of Political Process for the City of Medellin, Colombia, to be exhibited at the Medellin Museum of Modern Art at the 2014 World Urban Forum and the Museum of Art in Santa Monica. His work is part of the permanent architecture collections of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pitsburgh.

Institution Building

In 2010, he founded the Center for Urban Ecologies at UCSD to research urban conflict, informal urbanization and citizenship culture, and to develop new forms of cross-sector collaboration and urban intervention. He is presently collaborating with political theorist Fonna Forman and the Center on Global Justice to lead a variety of urban curatorial initiatives, including The Civic Innovation Lab in the City of San Diego to rethink public space and civic engagement; the Blum Cross-Border Initiative to promote research and practice focused on regional territories of poverty; and the UCSD Community Stations, to foster corridors of knowledge exchange between the university and marginalized communities. Additionaly, they are presently co-curating in collaboration with former Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus, the Bi-national Citizenship Culture Survey, funded by the FORD Foundation, an unprecedented protocol-document that will survey cross-border civic infrastructure, public trust and social norms, to generate new shared urban policies between the municipalities of San Diego and Tijuana, as well as collaborative strategies for cross-border urban intervention. He is also director of the Political Equator Meetings, an ongoing series of nomadic urban actions and debates involving the public and communities, oscillating across diverse contested jurisdictions, sites and stations across the Tijuana-San Diego border region.









Artwork Images

Teddy Cruz.
Teddy Cruz.
<p>Teddy Cruz&#39;s &quot;Enclave,&quot; photo construction, 2000, from the Artkrush Interview, 2008.</p>

Teddy Cruz's "Enclave," photo construction, 2000, from the Artkrush Interview, 2008.