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Teddy Cruzcruz


Visual Arts Facility 620


Professor, Public Culture and Urbanism, Visual Arts Department
Director of Urban Research, UCSD Center on Global Justice
Teddy Cruz is recognized internationally for his urban and architectural 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. He is currently a Professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department, and Director of Urban Research in the UCSD Center on Global Justice. With long-time research partner, UCSD political theorist, Fonna Forman, he is a principal in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, a research-based political and architectural practice, based in San Diego.

Cruz was born in Guatemala City. He studied architecture at Rafael Landivar University in Guatemala City and continued his studies at California State Polytechnic University San Luis Obispo (B.Arch, 1987) and completed his architectural education at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University (M.Des.S. 1997). From 1994 to 2000 he was founding director of the LA/LA Latin America / Los Angeles studio at SCI-Arc in Los Angeles. From 2000-05, he was Associate Professor of Architecture at Woodbury University.

Awards and Honors
Cruz has received many awards for his work including the prestigious Rome Prize in Architecture in 1991; various American Institute of Architecture Awards, and 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. In 2006, he was selected as one of eight “Emergent Voices” in architecture by the Urban League in New York City. 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, Cruz 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. In 2016 he received the Architecture Award from Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City; the UCSD Chancellors Associates Award for Community Service; and in 2017 he and Fonna Forman received the Social Design Circle Award, the 10th Anniversary Design Prize of the Curry Stone Foundation. The UCSD Community Stations were honored in 2015 with an inaugural UCSD “Frontiers of Innovation” Center Award, and in 2016 with the UCSD EO/AA Diversity Award.

Research and Practice
As Director of Urban Research in the UCSD Center on Global Justice, Cruz partners closely with UCSD political theorist Fonna Forman on a variety of urban research agendas, curatorial platforms and public interventions. From 2012-13 they served as special advisors on Civic and Urban Initiatives for the City of San Diego and led the development of its Civic Innovation Lab. Together they are principals in Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman. Their work emphasizes urban conflict and informality as sites for engaging public policy and civic infrastructure, with a special emphasis on Latin American cities. Their practice blurs conventional academic boundaries between research, teaching and service; and convenes knowledges from across the fields of architecture and urbanism, environmental and social practice, political theory and urban policy, visual arts and public culture, and mediates the interface between top-down institutions (governments, universities, foundations) and the bottom-up intelligence of marginalized communities. In 2012 they co-founded the UCSD Cross-Border Initiative and the UCSD Community Stations to foster corridors of knowledge exchange between the university and marginalized communities across the border region. Their work has been funded by the Graham Foundation, the PARC Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, ArtPlace America, the Surdna Foundation, a generous gift by Richard C. Blum, and the San Diego Foundation, among others.

Cruz’s work has been published and profiled widely in architectural journals and newspapers, including DOMUS, Art Forum, Metropolis, The New York Times, The Guardian, Progressive Architecture, Architecture Record, Praxis Magazine, Yale Perspecta and Harvard Design Magazine; and in books edited by such prominent authors as Michael Sorkin, Bruce Mau, Rebecca Solnit, Andrew Ross, Ananya Roy, Anudartha Mathur, Justin McGuirk and Ron Rael. With Fonna Forman, Helge Mooshammer and Peter Mörtenböck he co-edited Informal Markets Worlds – Reader: The Architecture of Economic Pressure (Rotterdam: nai010 2015); and with Forman he is currently completing two monographs: one on citizenship culture at the US-Mexico border; and another a cross-section of the work of Estudio Teddy Cruz + Fonna Forman, Top-Down / Bottom-Up, to be published by Hatje Cantz.

Cruz’s architectural and artistic work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at important cultural venues such as The Centro Cultural de Tijuana, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, The San Francisco Art Institute, Casa de America in Madrid and the PARC Foundation; the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, and Das Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin. He has also exhibited at the Istanbul Art Biennial, the Auckland Triennial and Madrid Abierto 2010, Architecture Biennials in Rotterdam, Lisbon and Shenzhen, and in 2008 represented the US in the American Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale. His work has been exhibited in several significant shows at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, including Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement; Home Delivery, a major show on prefabrication and housing, 9+1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design; and Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter. His work is part of the permanent architecture collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Civic Engagement
Cruz has been member of the 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. From 2012-3 Cruz + Forman led the Civic Innovation Lab for the City of San Diego, to rethink public space and civic engagement. Cruz + Forman also direct the Political Equator Meetings, an ongoing series of nomadic urban actions and debates involving the public and communities, oscillating across contested jurisdictions, sites and stations across the border region.

Cruz has served 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 advisory board of ArtsChangeUS. He has served as advisor for two major exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City: Foreclosed: The Re-Housing of the American Dream and Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for expanding Mega Cities; and on the International advisory board of the Cooper Hewitt exhibition, By the People: Designing a Better America.

Current and recent projects (by Cruz + Forman):

The Medellín Diagram, in collaboration with Alejandro Echeverri and Matthias Görlich, is a diagram of political and civic processes for the City of Medellin, Colombia, which was exhibited at the Medellin Museum of Modern Art at the 2014 World Urban Forum; the Museum of Art in Santa Monica; the 2016 Shenzhen Biennial; and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco

The Cross-Border Citizen, in collaboration with former Bogota Mayor Antanas Mockus, the Bi-national Citizenship Culture Survey investigates cross-border civic infrastructure, public trust and social norms, to generate new shared urban policies and cultural interventions between the cities of San Diego and Tijuana. Funded by the Ford Foundation and the San Diego Foundation, and exhibited at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.

EPIC: The Chollas Eco-Village, a cross-sector community development planning project funded by the California Energy Commission, focused on designing a ‘zero-net energy community’ in the disadvantaged neighborhoods of Encanto. Partners include the UCSD Center on Global Justice, the UCSD Center for Energy Research, the community-based environmental non-profit Groundwork San Diego, the San Diego Unified School District, San Diego Gas & Electric, and the City for San Diego Planning Department. The planning phase of this project includes a substantial civic engagement and environmental education focus, including the development and application of an innovative climate attitude and behavior survey.

Mecalux Retrofit, a social housing research collaboration with Mecalux, a Spanish maquiladora in Tijuana to retrofit their prefab metal pallet rack systems into new structural frameworks for housing in the settlements of Tijuana, exhibited at Das Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin and the Cal-Pacific Triennial at Orange County Museum of Art.

Urban Rooms, a public space intervention in collaboration with the City of San Jose and Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) and funded by the NEA and ArtPlace America.

Meeting House at the Old Manse, a temporary public meeting-house and cultural space in Minuteman National Park in Concord, Massachusetts to advance community dialogue about the history of slavery, in collaboration with artist Sam Durant and curator Pedro Alonzo. Various public space interventions associated with the UCSD Community Stations include: The Cross-Border Community Station in Tijuana, a 3-D model for UCSD community station infrastructure in Tijuana, and process videos, exhibited at the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, New York and the Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM), Los Angeles.

The Cross-Border Community Station at Casa Familiar: Living Rooms at the Border, a mixed-use housing development and public space project in collaboration with Casa Familiar, funded by ArtPlace America and the PARC Foundation; and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art New York in Small Scale, Big Change: New Architectures of Social Engagement.

Earthlab Community Station Masterplan, a participatory masterplan design for a 4-acre open-air environmental classroom, developed in collaboration with Groundwork San Diego and the San Diego Unified School District, and funded by the Surdna Foundation.