Architect Rene Peralta is the director/founder of Generica Arquitectura (generica.com.mx), a bi-national firm specializing in architecture and urban design, with an office in Tijuana. He is also the co-author of Here Is Tijuana!
Rene Peralta about his life and work on the border:
I am a native of Tijuana, Mexico and have taught and practiced architecture in the border region, from Tijuana to Los Angeles. My academic training in architecture began in San Diego and later in London at the Architectural Association. I resettled in Tijuana/San Diego and in the year 2000 I decided to open my own practice, an “alternative” practice operating in one of the most hectic and volatile regions of North America.
It is between these paradoxical borderlands that I find inspiration to research the urban environment and architectural affinities of the region. In the last 16 years I have maintained a practice that involves architectural and urban research as well as having an active participation in academic activities on both sides of the border.
My current interests are to continue to pursue architectural/urban research beyond border phenomena, yet promote and share the experience and work I have realized in the last 16 years as it pertains to this region and the type of practice engendered by these global/local conditions. I am interested in academic research of global and contested urbanism and landscapes of the liminal border similar to the condition I find myself in.
Educated at the New School of Architecture in San Diego and at the Architectural Association in London, England. Was a invited professor at the UCLA Architecture and Urban Design Department in 2005, Senior Lecturer of the Tijuana Urban Design Studio at Washington University in St. Louis from 2008-2010. From 2012-2014 was the Director of the Master of Science in Architecture with emphasis on Landscape + Urbanism at Woodbury University School of Architecture in San Diego. Currenlty he is a Lecturer in the Art and Design program at San Diego State University.
Rene’s work in the last few years has been directed toward the research of social and cultural forms of the urban border amongst the United States and Mexico specifically between the cities of Tijuana and San Diego. He has published texts in the US, Mexico, Cuba and Italy and France and lectured at UCLA, USC, North Carolina State University, SCIArc, Harvard University, and abroad in Korea, Nicaragua, Bolivia and Argentina. His practice searches for expedient and alternative methods to urban design in contested global territories working alongside academia, NGO’s and government agencies. Currently his firm, Generica, is working on designing participatory community design, public art, ecological urban infrastructure and urban economic development on both sides of the border. Rene is co-author with the Italian anthropologist Fiamma Montezemolo and Mexican writer Heriberto Yepez of the book Here is Tijuana, Black Dog Publishing, London 2006.
His work has been exhibited in the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Monica Museum of Art, Casa Mexico in the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC, Schenzhen Architecture and Urbanism Biennale 2007 in China and the Sociedad Central de Arquitectos in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His work has appeared in The San Diego Union Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, Fox News, among other outlets. In 2009 his student’s work from Washington University received a Smart Growth Award from the San Diego chapter of The Urban Land Institute. The work on PREVI in Lima, Peru by his graduate students from Woodbury University was part of the exhibit Latin America in Construction: Architecture 1955-1980 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2015.
All photos and video © Stefan Falke