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Profile: Ernesto Ruiz-Garcia AIA

Ernesto Ruiz-Garcia AIA
Image: Ernesto Ruiz-Garcia AIA. Credit: Opus AE Group.

Name: Ernesto Ruiz-Garcia AIA
Job title and company: vice president and design director, Opus AE Group
Degree(s): MArch, University of Minnesota; BEnvD, University of Puerto Rico
Professional interests: Design process, materials and assemblies, skin design, and detailing

What are you working on now?
University of St. Thomas Chapel Expansion in St. Paul; 365 Nicollet Apartments in Minneapolis;  MoZaic II Office Building also in Minneapolis 

What inspired you today? 
The surprising shapes and growth patterns of the ever-expanding collection of succulents in our house

What architectural buzzword would you kill?
Statement, iconic, starchitect

What are you reading?
Emergent Strategy: Shaping Change, Changing Worlds by Adrienne Marie Brown

Has your career taken you anywhere you didn’t expect?
Yes: design-build!

What is the future of architecture/design practice?
Fewer superstar designers, more well-integrated, nimble, and collaborative design teams.


Image courtesy of Opus AE Group.

What do you hope to contribute from your work?
Less pretension, more restraint; simple yet elegant responses to site and program

If you could give the you-of-10-years-ago advice, what would it be?
It is ok to have a balanced life and enjoy doing other things!

If you were on a late-night TV show, what would your 30-second plug be?
“Up next; a Puerto Rican who for some reason lives in Minnesota. He may be an architect but spends as much time as possible traveling and taking pictures. On summer days he can be found wearing a “captain” hat (literally) on the St. Croix River. He is a salsa dancer and a book club enthusiast, a wanna-be pizza and pancake chef, and budding gamer who only plays one game because it involves killing zombies. Please welcome…”


Image courtesy of Opus AE Group.

If you could create any Design Awards category—realistic or fantastic—what would it be?
Not-Overcooked Design Award

What does “design excellence” mean?
I think it relates to the process of exploration and discovery: generating ideas and trying your best to follow through with them in the shaping of space and making of forms—all all the way from the big moves to the crafting of building details. 

Why do design awards matter?
Designers must lead in defining and assigning value to “good” design to a broader audience. Design awards are the perfect tool to put a spotlight on the work that we, the design community, find to be outstanding.


Image courtesy of Opus AE Group.