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LQAF Scholar Spotlight: Karla Roman-Wong

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La Quinta Arts Foundation visual arts scholar Karla Roman-Wong is studying Architecture with a Sustainable Environments minor at California Polytechnic San Luis Obispo, in the College of Architecture and Environment Design. After graduating this Spring 2019, she will begin working at Arris Studio Architects

Early Inspiration 

I decided to follow a career in Architecture because design and craft have always been a part of my life. Since I was very young, I was introduced to construction materials and hand tools, as I watched my grandfather do it all! To follow the career of Architecture was a decision that came naturally.

Internship Experience

I started my internship last summer at Arris Studio Architects in San Luis Obispo, where I have learned so much in the past few months.  I was able to form part of a variety of projects: single family residences, multi-family housing, interior remodeling, and mixed use developments, to name a few. This experience was very valuable and I’m very excited to keep growing in the field.  Principal Thom Jess and the entire Arris family have guided me and taught me so much.  I was able to land a full-time position with the firm after graduation.

Senior Thesis Project

Currently, I have been working on my thesis project located in Lima, Peru; my native country. I have chosen to tackle the housing shortage and unaffordability that has affected the city of Lima for years.

Poster – Thesis sample by Karla Roman-Wong

Thesis statement: Improving the Living Conditions of Impoverished Peruvian Families

During the last few decades, Peru’s capital city of Lima has faced a rapidly growing ubran population. It is obvious that Lima is bursting at the seams, and that many of the public systems have failed to meet the city’s expanding population’s housing demands. This crisis has forced individuals in extreme poverty to come up with their own resources to establish living spaces within the city’s economic and cultural opportunities. Today, two million people seeking shelter build their homes on the hilly outskirts of the city; these unpermitted, squatter communities are called pueblos jóvenes (young towns). These impoverished migrants, about 27 percent of Lima’s total population are obligated to move into inhumane living conditions, some even lacking electricity, water and waste systems.

This project develops healthier living conditions for these families in need by designing self-reliant homes’ structures integrated within a new self-sufficient infrastructure. This system includes power generators, water and waste collection, recycle and reuse management systems. Creating employment opportunities for the pueblo’s residents on site. The project proposes business incubator programs, communal kitchen spaces, small scale farming, thus providing a more stable, humane living environment for these struggling populations.

Detail section of Thesis by Karla Roman-Wong

LQAF Scholarship Support

“I have been a LQAF scholar recipient during community college, and during my years at Cal Poly San Luis Obipso. The scholarship has given me the freedom to achieve the full development of projects through material use, and access to digital programs.  It has motivated me to stay on top of all studio courses.”