Design for Change

Associate Professor of Architecture Margarita Jover recently won an international design competition in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for her proposal, “Vertebrando,” a reimagining of the space and use of a 1.3-mile section of elevated highway, which has bisected a historically poor and underserved community for decades. (Image courtesy of Margarita Jover/ aldayjover architecture and landscape)

A new highway, which diverts traffic away from the neighborhood around the old highway, is currently under construction. As part of the design process, Jover traveled to Buenos Aires to meet with neighborhood residents who expressed a need to become a part of the city.


“Our proposal is about the connections across the highway on either side,” said Jover. “The highway is quite high so there’s plenty of space underneath with light and view. We emphasized a big plaza under one space, the corazon [heart].”

The proposal is for multiuse spaces for parks, public transportation, social cohesion and civic buildings for learning and culture as well as self-contained drainage and irrigation systems.

“Schools have the responsibility to teach that architecture can do more than beautiful objects.”

Margarita Jover, associate professor of architecture

Jover joined the Tulane School of Architecture in August, alongside her partner, Iñaki Alday, who serves as dean of the school.

“Schools have the responsibility to teach that architecture can do more than beautiful objects,” Jover said. “How to work with communities in a larger sense is important.”

At Tulane, Jover is focused on coastal urbanism and river areas, on issues — beyond defensive measures — related to inhabiting watersheds and deltas. She’s also interested in collective housing.

“Designers can be dreamers, catalysts of political action,” she said.