Name: Oscar Malaspina Quevedo
Hometown: Lima, Peru
Undergraduate school/major: Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru, architecture
What was your work experience/background before coming to the GSD?
I worked for two years for Barclay & Crousse Architecture and two years as an independent architect participating in architecture and urban design projects.
During these four years, I also taught studio at Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru in the final degree project studio.
Why did you decide to pursue urban design as a career?
I saw it as a way of broadening the scope of the interventions that architects can do in the city and as a way to understand better the place and the context in which architecture projects happen.
Also, Urban Design is more socially oriented and that has always been one of my major interests.
What made you decide to come to the GSD?
It is a very international school with professors of the first level. The GSD does not only address urban projects in the United States, but it also lets its students explore the whole world and its amazing contexts.
What are your main interests in urban design?
How urban design can make a big contributions to cities and society in general through a variety of interventions that are not only material. Urban design is also about research, advocacy, and activism.
Are you writing a thesis? What is your topic and why did you choose it?
Yes, my thesis is about water infrastructure, how big irrigation projects can configure entire cities and how a better understanding of the territory in which these projects happen could open new explorations in urban design projects. I choose it because there are several big irrigation projects that are currently happening in Peru, and it is my aim to be able to contribute to these projects from the results of my thesis.
What has been the most surprising aspect of the GSD?
The incredible amount of opportunities that the GSD and Harvard give to its students.
What has been your favorite class or project? Why?
Studio: Extreme Urbanism in Mumbai – India. It gave me the opportunity to explore extreme urban solutions in a completely new context for me. This studio narrowed my interests for what I wanted to do as a thesis.
What did you do over the summer? How did that add to your education and goals?
I won two grants that allowed me first to travel to Bangkok, Thailand and work for an NGO researching about urban floods and to travel across various cities in Cambodia and Vietnam comparing the results of the research done in Thailand with the different contexts found in other cities.