Meet Julia Mosqueda, Assoc. AIA, Staff Designer at LBBA, and Trustee of the AIA Chicago Foundation. For Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked her a few questions and she had inspiring words. Read her full interview below.
What does it mean to you to be a Mexican architect?
Being a Mexican Architect means sharing the most beautiful parts of our culture, sharing holidays, foods, architecture, art, mezcal, colors, and the happiness that is infused in every part of us. But it also means having the responsibility to respectfully share the hard parts too: racism, poverty, homelessness, and corruption. These things aren’t exclusive to any one ethnicity or culture, but as I have met many wonderful architects in Chicago, I think we all believe architecture can help change the world. We must all take our own experiences and work towards a better future. Viva Mexico!
How does your culture influence your design?
I believe that as designers, everything we do is influenced by our memories, our traditions, and our culture. One of the most beautiful parts of my culture is the importance of thresholds and the organic interactions that happen within the architecture. In Rincon de Tamayo, spontaneous conversations and check-ins with your neighbor or your second cousin happen in a way that would never be possible in a city like Chicago. When I design, I find myself looking for those moments of connection and creating spaces conducive to it. Because to me, looking for a connection is what makes our culture so warm and inviting and special.
What advice would you tell a younger version of yourself?
I would tell myself to have a little more fun, be assertive and voice your opinion, and make friends with people all over: different careers, trades, and ages. Don’t forget to fight for diversity, if everyone in the room looks the same, use your own platform to invite more people in. And finally, it’s ok to wake up late on vacation, the museums don’t open until 10AM anyways.
What advice do you have for young people looking to become architects?
Why is diversity in architecture important? Sometimes I felt like there wasn’t a place for me in this (Chicago) architecture community, not listening to the same music, not doing the same weekend activities, and living on opposite sides of the city. As I met more architects of diverse backgrounds, I loved that we could be talking about architecture one moment and then talking about how our own cultures were so different yet the same. They would ask where I got my Huipiles or where in the city were my favorite tamales while they would share their own music or food or art. I now know I have a place here, because I worked for it, same as everyone else.