Juana Salazar is a Senior Lecturer at UTSA’s Department of Architecture. She also practices in her own firm as a professional architect and urban designer.
As a determined young woman, she began her career path early by taking two years of drafting classes at Edison High School in San Antonio, Texas. Being the only young woman in the drafting classes did not deter her. Her pursuit of a formal architecture education took her to The University of Texas at Austin. While at the School of Architecture, she took opportunities to participate in student exchanges with universities in Mexico and attended the first summer study abroad at Oxford. Travelling throughout many of England’s cities and new towns ignited her interest in planning and urban design. In 1983 she earned her Bachelor of Architecture, a 5 year degree in 4.5 years.
After completing architectural internships in Dallas and Boston, Salazar received her first architect’s license in 1987 by passing the entire examination on the first attempt. As a licensed architect, she then took a rare career path by returning to academia in pursuit of a Master of Architecture in Urban Design degree at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. There she applied her pragmatic technical architectural knowledge to the GSD’s studies with emphasis on design theory, and to research on urban infrastructure, architectural developments and implementation strategies in the United States, including international communities within developing countries. After receiving her MAUD degree in 1990, her first teaching appointment was Urban Design Instructor at the GSD’s Career Discovery summer program, introducing planning and urban design to prospective students.
She continued her professional career by joining a distinguished minority-owned architecture and planning firm in Boston, MA. She rose to positions of Senior Architect and Senior Associate by gaining difficult responsibilities in project management. For nearly 15 years, she managed numerous architecture and urban design projects in Boston and in cities throughout the US, the diversity of which include: multi-family housing, religious, educational, commercial, government institutions, transportation facilities, interior architecture, historic preservation, adaptive reuse and community redevelopments. She managed the Master Plan for the Revitalization of Houston’s Fourth Ward Freedmen’s Town, which was honored by the AIA Boston Society of Architects for its innovative design and research. After living in Boston for 20 years, she returned to her hometown of San Antonio to be with her family. She continues her professional practice with her own firm, Juana M Salazar RA AIA, holding architect licenses in both Massachusetts and Texas.
Salazar regained interest in teaching when she volunteered her time and effort as an advisor and critic for a Texas A&M University graduate studio in 2009. She joined UTSA’s Department of Architecture as a Senior Lecturer in 2010. Since then Professor Salazar has taught a full range of studios, from the undergraduate first year Design 1 to the Master’s Project capstone graduate studios.
Her research interests include: envisioning catalyst urban planning and architectural design of environments in support of cognitive orientation and place, design responses to human comfort, design of appropriate sustainable green architecture and infrastructure strategies, and the development of individual students’ formal and spatial vocabularies so that they may become enthusiastic advocates of architecture.
Professor Salazar often tells her students “architecture is my passion.”