Carmen SueroFriday, Apr 01, 2022
Carmen Suero, a 2001 graduate of the FAU’s School of Architecture, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters, is a principal at Good Project Company, a Los Angeles-based architectural firm that she owns and operates with her husband. Throughout her impressive career, Suero has been involved with projects across various sectors that include rail and aviation projects for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), civic projects for the City of Long Beach, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, educational, hospitality as well as residential projects. "I became an architect because my parents would not let me become a lawyer," said Suero. "I chose architecture as a career that could allow me to help people in a very different way."
Suero is currently a member of the executive board for the Southern California chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA). She is also co-chairing the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee for AIA Los Angeles, and is this year’s State Representative for the Small Practice Exchange at AIA National. "Architecture has historically been a predominately white and male profession. Minorities and women have been underrepresented. We are talking about less than 2% of total licensures belong to minority women in the profession," said Suero, who was born in the Dominican Republic and whose family moved to Plantation when she was a teenager. "Things are not getting better just yet. Although the profession as a whole has acknowledged its shortcoming on representation, we have yet to see evidence of change – this will take some years. We still need to continue educating the profession on its understanding of who are minority individuals and who the profession is looking to create opportunities for. It is a job that is not yet done."
Alongside her practice, Suero is actively pursuing an Educational Doctorate degree at the University of Southern California with a focus on the processes of learning in practice within architecture and the relationships to representation in the industry. "I’d like to continue working with organizations to help architectural practitioners of underrepresented groups obtain skills that will allow them to excel in their careers," she said.
Suero has many fond memories of the School of Architecture in downtown Fort Lauderdale. "We were a small class and some of us became like family," she said. "I remember us getting in trouble for using the emergency exit stairs as a paint/spray booth; spending large amounts of money on architectural books when the El Croquis vendor would set up in the lobby once a year, and lunches at the walk-up Cuban restaurant on Andrews Avenue. I still try to stop by when I am in town." She said her favorite classes were the ones she took outside of the School of Architecture that helped her look at ideas and concepts from different perspectives. "The Urban Geography class completely changed my understanding of American history through the built environment. The computer animation and visualization classes also changed my approach to how architectural work could be done and how stories could be told."
Her advice to students who want to pursue a career in architecture? "Be curious and be you," Suero said. "Be curious, question things, continue to always learn new things. This is essential to the practice of architecture. We are constantly learning new things, changing how things are done, revisiting rules and requirements. And be you, find your own voice, your own path. No two architecture adventures are the same, so be as curious about who you are and what you stand for as you are about others around you. This will help you find the place that is meant to be yours in the profession."