Appearing at Philbrook, the Noted California-Based Architect Teddy Cruz

Aug 23, 2012

On this edition of ST, we speak with Teddy Cruz, the acclaimed architect and scholar --- he's an associate professor of Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego --- who will appear at a "Third Thursday" event at the Philbrook Museum of Art here in Tulsa tomorrow night (the 16th) at 6pm. A 2010 profile of Cruz that appeared in T: The New York Times Style Magazine --- in which he was named as one of "the Nifty 50: America's up-and-coming talent" --- begins like so: "Most architects live to build. Teddy Cruz lives to lay the economic, social, and political groundwork for buildings --- specifically, housing and small-scale commercial centers for minority communities, most of them in the rapidly growing area between San Diego, Calif., and Tijuana, Mexico, where, Cruz said, 'some of the richest real estate in the world is 20 minutes away from some of the poorest.' Rather than obsess over the design of a facade or a door handle, Cruz, 47, whose six-person office is in San Diego and who does only nonprofit projects, designs systems.... These systems are not the grand mega-schemes of contemporary urban planning; Cruz is all about the small-scale. Finding inspiration in border shantytowns, Cruz...argues that their high-density, ad hoc, 'bottom-up' brand of development provides a better model of urbanism than that of the low-density, faux-traditional conformity of the typical American suburb." (You can learn more about Cruz and his work here.)