Juan worked with vulnerable communities in Colombia from 2008 to 2014, and he witnessed how families were living under extreme poverty in deplorable conditions. “It remains the most eye-opening experience of my life, and I saw architecture as a way in which I could provide disadvantaged communities with a better future,” he says.
The projects that have a special place in his heart are those that have a positive impact in underprivileged communities. Juan is fascinated by the concept of democratizing sustainability; there’s no reason why only a certain few should have access to sustainable buildings, he says.
Juan is a Sustainability Specialist for Perkins Eastman and serves on its Firmwide Sustainability Team. He has combined his passion for sustainable architecture with data-informed design, building science, and performance analysis throughout his career. Inclusive design and community engagement are priorities in the work Juan does on a daily basis, generating the highest impact in the most vulnerable communities where he works. For Juan, good design is sustainable design, and incorporating sustainability into every design decision that is being made along the way is his priority.
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As a Latino immigrant who left his life in South America to pursue his dream of studying environmental building design and becoming a sustainability specialist in the United States, Juan sees it as his responsibility to share his experience and advocate for others in the same situation. “Many people are going through similar career struggles and need that extra push to pursue something they’re passionate about,” he says. Juan also sees it as a priority to mentor and share his knowledge about sustainability around the firm. The more knowledge designers have around sustainability, he says, the more chances we’ll have to fight this race we have against climate change.