We’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to one of our Honorable mention winners for our “Toronto Affordable Housing Challenge” competition – Ana Cecilia Jiménez Salinas from Mexico!

Ana Cecilia Jiménez Salinas from Mexico

I am an architect and urban planner with about five years of international work experience. I graduated in architecture from Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Mexico. Later I was awarded a scholarship by CONACYT-DAAD in Germany, where I completed a master’s degree in urban planning at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences and where I lived for five years.  During my studies, I also had the opportunity to go on student exchange programs at Universidad de Malaga in Spain and Griffith University in Australia. Passionate about cities and cultures, I have always been captivated by the range of ways to approach the art of place-making around the world.

Brief information about the projects that you/your company have been involved with. For instance, what scale have you focused on/preferred, any significant projects where the company/ individuals have been involved?

I have been involved in both public and private projects of various typologies that include cultural, residential, health care, commercial, and mixed-use, and in the rehabilitation of heritage-listed buildings in Heidelberg, Germany.

Although working on small and medium scales has given me greater sensibility as a designer, I have always been interested in resolving larger problems in cities. My research has focused on non-motorized mobility studies, urban design guidelines, master planning, downtown revitalization, and policy analysis.

What does architecture mean to you and what is the role of an architect in your society?

Architecture tells us many stories and can be discussed from different angles, but if we go to its essence, we find the story of shelter, survival, and community. For me, architecture still represents that. As architects and urban designers, our role is to promote that sense of belonging, togetherness, and endurance through the spaces we create.

Why do you participate in architecture competitions?

This is actually the first competition where I participate. I have always wanted to, but I didn’t give myself the time before, and I think I was also a little scared that I didn’t have the right skills. Architecture competitions can take us to unexplored places, in our careers and in terms of architectural theory, and this could be daunting, but it is always an opportunity to grow. In my case, I am planning to move to Toronto soon, so this competition was a way to introduce myself to the place and gain some experience beforehand.

What advice would you give to individuals who struggle to decide whether it would be beneficial for them to participate in architecture competitions?

Confidence does not build itself. You have to build it through experience. If you do not know that software, don’t know some technicalities, or are unsure about your architectural representation skills, then take that course, research that construction method, read that book, and do it!

It is tempting to want to stand out and win, but if we want to change the way we intervene in the built environment, we must work together. Architecture competitions are an opportunity to open discussions, get to know each other, and make architecture grow as a discipline.

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