AMES, Iowa — Architecture and design researchers and educators from Peru whose focus is informal building practices, participatory design processes and the role of underrepresented populations in constructing communities will deliver the keynote lecture for the Iowa State University College of Design Dean’s Charrette 2023.

Cristina Dreifuss-Serrano, dean of the Northern Private University School of Architecture and Design, and José Cepero Saravia, a member of the design faculty at the Peruvian University of Applied Sciences and a project coordinator at IntuyLab, a nonprofit urban design practice, all in Lima, Peru, will speak about “Informality and Landscapes of Care” at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 Design.

In their presentation, Dreifuss-Serrano and Cepero Saravia will consider the impact of informal settlement patterns and construction on cities and their residents and propose alternative strategies for intervention, aiming for low-tech, low-cost, care-informed design processes that enhance human interaction.

Dean’s Charrette

The public lecture is part of “Lobitos for Care: Landscapes of Collective Repair in the Deserts of Northern Peru,” a multi-day design charrette that begins Thursday afternoon, Oct. 19, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 22, with an exhibition on Monday, Oct. 23. A charrette is a rapid, intensive design process in which participants think holistically about a project to generate and test ideas and potential outcomes.

Students representing all College of Design departments – architecture, art and visual culture, community and regional planning, graphic design, industrial design, interior design and landscape architecture – are invited to participate in the charrette.

With guidance from Dreifuss-Serrano, Cepero Saravia and faculty from the College of Design, they’ll work in interdisciplinary teams to develop site-specific design prototypes for Waves Lobitos. This Peruvian nongovernmental organization engages youth through skating and surfing to cultivate positive personal development and community-driven impact. Each student team will apply the notion of care through the knowledge, skill sets and perspectives of the majors represented to generate a cohesive prototype for exhibition at the charrette’s conclusion.

About the speakers

In addition to her position at Northern Private University, Dreifuss-Serrano is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, a research fellow at the Women’s International Study Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a research coordinator with IN-Investiga Independiente. She holds a PhD in architecture from the Sapienza University of Rome.

Prior to his faculty position and work with IntuyLab, Cepero Saravia served as the executive coordinator of Urban 95, which advocates for children so public officials and organizations consider them when developing urban planning policies. He is a graduate student in the Bartlett Development Planning Unit at University College London.


Peter Zuroweste, College of Design Lectures and Exhibitions Committee,
Lauren Johnson, College of Design Strategic Communications,
Heather Sauer, College of Design Strategic Communications,