Natalia Escobar Castrillón is an Instructor and a PhD student in Architecture and Conservation Theory at Harvard University. She teaches the core seminar on conservation theory at the Harvard GSD. She is a Guest Lecturer at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile and Northeastern University. She is also a Teaching Fellow and review critic at Harvard University. Natalia holds an MDes in Critical Conservation awarded with Distinction from the Harvard GSD, and an MArch from the Univeridad de Sevilla with a stint at École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Strasbourg.
In her research, Natalia applies philosophical conceptions of history and memory of Walter Benjamin and Martin Heidegger among others to highly contemporary conservation projects in order to produce an alternative and actual interpretative framework. Her cases-study are buildings, places and sites defined by their material instability and/or ethereal essence. Previously, she studies the transhistorical potential of pre-modern urban conservation practices on mediterranean cities. This work was published as The Preservation Fallacy in the Mediterranean Medina, 2013 and she presented an updated version titled ”Historic Cities in Continuous Evolution” at the SAH Conference in Chicago in 2015 that will be published this year.
The scholar has been the recipient of several fellowships and awards including the Andalucia Agency of Knowledge’s TALENTIA grant from the Spanish Government, the Real Colegio Complutense Fellowship on two occasions, the Harvard Aga Khan Program Doctoral Studies Fellowship, the Spanish Ministry of Education Research Grant for Young Researchers, and more recently the Pekin University Collaboration Fellowship.
She has presented her vision as an invited editor for issue 11 of the journal Materia Arquitectura titled “Conservation as an Expanded Field,” where she interviewed David Chipperfield and proposes a new reconceptualization of the idea of architectural conservation. She is founding editor of the upcoming publication Timelapse, and is invited editor for Ediciones ARQ. In addition, she organized several lectures at the GSD, including the Critical Conservation lecture by Prof. David Lowenthal “Conservation Past and Present” in 2014 and the Aga Khan Symposium “The Gap between Conservation and Development” in 2013, or the Spain GSD lecture series from which she is former President.
Natalia has practiced as a Licensed Architect at Alan Dunlop and Gordon Murray in Glasgow, at Maria Archer in Barcelona, and as Urban Designer at ARUP Shanghai. In addition she worked as a Consultant for the rehabilitation project of the Philadelphia Academy or Arts and completed a stint at the UNESCO World Heritage Center in the Department of Historic Cities.