New Facilities Open for Program Boosting Architectural Diversity

A partnership between Texas Tech and El Paso Community College offers first bachelor’s degree in architecture to El Paso, Juarez region.

Written by Cory Chandler

A partnership between Texas Tech University and El Paso Community College (EPCC) could help alleviate a deficit in the ranks of Hispanic architects.

The College of Architecture at El Paso offers the first Bachelor of Science degree to prospective architects living in the populous and predominantly Hispanic El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, area, allowing architecture students who have earned their associate’s degree through EPCC to take upper-level Texas Tech courses at the college’s Valle Verde campus.

Such an arrangement could be vital to the profession as Hispanic populations continue to grow across much of the United States. Architectural design likely will need to reflect the broadening cultural influence shaping communities if it is to remain relevant and engaging.

Yet the ranks of the architecture profession have not kept pace with demographic shifts. A 2005 Demographic Diversity Audit by the American Institute of Architects, representing nearly half the nation’s registered architects, found that roughly two percent of its architect members were Hispanic.

The partnership makes a bachelor’s degree more available to students who may not have the resources to relocate from the El Paso area. In the past, EPCC graduates were required to finish their Bachelor of Science on Texas Tech’s Lubbock campus, located six hours down the road.

"We are opening the door for people who would not normally have the opportunity to receive an architecture degree," said Nicholas Markovich, director of the College of Architecture at El Paso.

The program admitted its first 16 students this fall and hosted an open house to show its new facilities on Oct. 26.

Enrollment is expected to grow to as many as 100 within two years; EPCC’s architecture program tripled to more than 300 students after the partnership was announced, Markovich said.

CONTACT: Nicholas Markovich, director, College of Architecture at El Paso, Texas Tech University, (915) 831-3256, or nicholas.markovich@ttu.edu.