SoA Lecture: Juan Carlos Cristaldo

New South Global South
September 27, 2023 - 2:00 PM
Boardman Auditorium, Storrs

Juan Carlos Cristaldo is the founder and coordinator of Centro de Investigación Desarrollo e Innovación at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción in Paraguay (CIDi FADA UNA ) and cofounder/ senior urban designer of Exponencial S.A. He recieved his education from the Universidad Nacional de Asunción and Harvard Graduate School of Design, 2013. 

CIDi FADA UNA focuses on research and development/innovation of the Faculty of Architecture, Design and Art at the university. Exponencial S.A. is an architecture and urbanism company with a mission to help each client and each project reach their maximum potential through design and creativity. In his work with these companies he draws on his extensive experience in urban, architectural and academic projects in places such as Paraguay, where he is from, and the United States. 

"Regardless of the scale (furniture, architecture, urban or territorial design), nor the sector (public, private, profit or non-profit), I believe that intelligence and creativity allow us to find answers that increase value and create real possibilities for sustainable development. Every problem, every landscape, every community, and every organization contains within itself the clarity, power, and resources needed to meet the challenges of tomorrow."

Juan Carlos Cristaldo's lecture opens the David R. Ravin School of Architecture 2023-24 Lecture Series, New South meets Global South.

In 1886, Atlanta Constitution editor Henry W. Grady delivered a speech to the New England Society in New York City entitled The New South, boasting of the vibrant economy of urban industrial growth in the post-Civil War South that was replacing the antebellum world of slavery-based rural agriculture. Cities like Charlotte continue to use this phrase to connect their identities with growth and financial prosperity and encourage investment. What was barely implied by Grady and is only just being acknowledged is the structural racism and exclusion inherent in this prosperity. Not only in the American South but throughout the so- called First World, we live in a new colonialism that continues to marginalize people of color and perpetuate inequitable access to resources.

Similarly, the Global South refers broadly to the regions of Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania that generally lie south of the Equator and were exploited by European colonization. These regions continue to be treated as opportunities for investment and wealth production, decimating economies and ecologies while continuing repression of local cultures. The economic, political, and cultural marginalization of the peoples and landscapes of the Global South mirrors that of the New South, demonstrating how colonialism and the violent pursuit of wealth continue today.

The School of Architecture's Lecture Series for 2023-24 will highlight research and design practices working to reveal the colonial injustices of the New South and the Global South as well as to celebrate their marginalized peoples and practices. Presenters are working to overcome social injustice by investigating topics such as territory, housing, immigration, race, social inequity, and civil rights. Their works provide insight into overcoming injustices while producing innovative solutions to issues including climate adaptation, sustainability, resilience, integration, and identity at scales ranging from regional territories to building materials.