This is the Place for You
Student Story Ines Latorre, MIA'24
January 23, 2023
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To say that Ines Latorre is busy is an understatement—but she thrives on the wavelength of determination and hustle. The t-shirt she’s wearing in her Instagram profile reads, “I CAN & I WILL.” That’s pure Ines. The founder and principal of Latorre Architecture decided to go back to school after receiving her undergraduate degree in 2001 from Universidad de Buenos Aires (UBA). She will graduate in 2024 with her Master of Interior Architecture from The Boston Architectural College.
Between raising three school aged kids in Manhattan, working on her firm’s major residential projects taking place in Mexico, and studying in Boston, she has to stay laser focused on her goals to keep things moving in the right direction.
“When I studied architecture 25 years ago, sustainability was not a word, it wasn’t a concept, it didn’t even exist,” she says, shaking her head. “In this profession, you have to keep learning at every stage in your career.”
At the BAC, the mid-career professional aimed to gain a deep understanding of the latest innovations in her field including a knowledge of new materials, ideas, and innovative ways of managing complex projects.
Although she was accepted to prestigious programs at other schools, Ines landed on the BAC because they didn’t ask her to shut her firm’s doors and relocate to Boston. In fact, it was quite the opposite. “I told them that I need to be able to travel to Mexico and be present for my employees and clients.” The BAC Admissions team told Ines, “This is the place for you. We can make it work.” And they have.
Ines is currently collaborating with Dean of Interior Architecture Denise Rush to develop a program to bring BAC students to Mexico to let them interact with modes of construction and design within the Latin American context. “Coming to the BAC was the best decision I’ve made. I’m not only studying—I’m building bridges,” she says.
When we connect over Zoom, she is lounging on the floor of her Manhattan loft with Terry O’Neil’s famous portrait of Kate Moss in the background. But the next day she’ll be onsite in rural Mexico, completing three new houses with her team of 12. The boutique firm has 17 projects in the pipeline. Their work is grounded, relaxed, luxurious, and eco-conscious.
The following week Ines will sprint back to Boston to start her classes at the BAC–and then to New York City to get her children settled in for the school year.
Growing up in Argentina, Ines was first attracted to architecture at age seven when her mother forced her to attend an opera performance. Bored, she entertained herself by closely observing the set designs’ rapid changes between acts. “Architects are constantly aware of changing environments and the experience sparked something in me,” she says.
With an undergraduate degree in Architecture from UBA, Ines moved to Mexico and worked her way up at a commercial firm. She led teams in designing 15-story buildings in commercial centers for companies such as OMEGA and Louis Vuitton.
But in her heart, she knew that it wasn’t her forever. Launching her own firm and working in the residential sector was the next step. She was grateful for the previous experience but put in her resignation. “I went from designing for Chanel to designing bathrooms,” she laughs.
The risk was worth it. Today, Latorre Architecture is an established firm in Mexico. Guided by Ines, the firm’s approach is hinged on deep analysis. She and her team start off by asking new clients about their lifestyle—down to the minutiae of how they like to organize their closets.
She says, “With this information in hand, we visit the site next and analyze everything from how the rain impacts the topography, to the light in winter, in summer, in the morning, in the afternoon. With all that information, we start designing a house.”
With this field experience, Ines has been able to offer a valuable global perspective to her cohort of BAC students. It's been useful to her to have the experience of studying architecture within the United States context because the role of the architect differs significantly in Latin America.
She explains, “When a new client approaches our company, we help them to find the land for their property, to design and build the house, and complete the interiors. We even make the first supermarket run to stock the kitchen. We do everything.” Also, there is less competition and more collaboration and brainstorming between architects in the Mexican context. Ines is a team player as a result and believes that the design space can expand to include everyone.
To other mid-career professionals considering the BAC, she offers only encouragement. “Every architect over the age of 50 should get a graduate degree in architecture. If you want to keep building, you can never stop studying.”
January 23, 2023
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