Tobias Jimenez (March. ’19) has earned an honorable mention in an international student design competition.

Jimenez competed in the Timber in the City: Urban Habitats competition, organized by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA), the Binational Softwood Lumber Council (BSLC) and Parsons School of Design. The competition asks students to develop a project that could transform cities through sustainability and use of renewable resources.

His Parcelas Verticales, or vertical plots, design proposed an answer to the affordable housing crisis in New York.  The proposal would allow people to build and design their own homes, providing residents with incomplete vertical plots of real estate coupled with housing features to construct their own homes. The incomplete plots would allow for a lower purchasing price than buying or renting a complete unit, and residents could gradually construct their own homes at their own pace and based on their income.

Jimenez said the vertical plot idea also empowers people to achieve architectural representation of their own cultures and values and to become more connected with their own homes.

Tobias Jimenez’s proposal provides residents with incomplete vertical plots of real estate coupled with housing features to construct their own homes.

“Architecture can do more than provide shelter, art or function,” he said. “It can serve people and provide solutions to the world’s issues.”

Omar Al-Hassawi, assistant professor in the School of Design and Construction and Jimenez’s faculty sponsor for the competition, said Jimenez is an outstanding student and has now received accolades in two international competitions.

“I witnessed his growth throughout his undergraduate and graduate education,” said Al-Hassawi. “He is off to a great start in his professional career.”

Jimenez was born in Pasco, Washington. Shortly after, his family returned with him to their home in Colima, Mexico. He said he didn’t know what a college or university was until one of his high school teachers told him about it. After earning the Hispanic Academic Achievers Program scholarship (HAAP), he decided to attend WSU because he liked the architecture program.

Since graduating this spring, he’s returned to Colima with his former classmate, Sean Anderson, to start their own practice called “[inform]al” with the intent of upgrading informal settlements across Latin America. Nearly a quarter of the population of Latin America lives in informal settlements, which the UN in 2018 defined as “a systemic violation of human rights.” To learn more about their work, visit their website or their GoFundMe.