CRO Studio, founded by Woodbury School of Architecture professor Marcel Sanchez and his partner Adriana Cuellar, is a recipient of a 60th annual Progressive Architecture Award. The P/A Award represents one of the highest honors in the profession and was given to Sanchez and Cuellar for their project Modulo Prep Library in Tijuana, Mexico. Other 2013 recipients include several of the most distinguished firms in contemporary practice: Asymptote Architecture, BIG, Perkins+Will, and Barkow Leibinger.
Built on a tight budget—only $130,000—for the Mexican government’s Social Development Secretariat, the Modulo Prep Library offers study areas, conference space, and an outdoor amphitheater to the Camino Verde community, an informal settlement in need of public services. The P/A Award jury lauded the project for its economy, formal invention, and social engagement. “It’s a sort of Swiss army knife in this urban plaza,” noted juror John Frane of Predock Frane Architects in Architect magazine. “It’s smart and clever, being both a building and part of the infrastructure.”
Sanchez teaches full-time at Woodbury University San Diego in both the undergraduate and graduate architecture programs. Cuellar is adjunct faculty at Woodbury, University of California, San Diego, and New School for Architecture. CRO Studio’s design team for the library included Joseph Ruiz Tapia, a current undergrad student at Woodbury, School of Architecture alum Arturo González, and Gabriela Bendeck of Calpoly.
“Marcel and Adriana are the first Woodbury professors to receive the P/A Award, and the honor validates their teaching philosophy and the design ethos they share with students in our School of Architecture,” said Dean Norman Millar.
“The research we undertake in any Woodbury studio is not simply about design, but also about social issues and how we can be more conscious about how we approach building in the city,” notes Sanchez. “For example, Modulo Prep Library is not just about urbanization, but how to create a city environment and how a building can contribute to civic interaction.”
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Woodbury University School of Architecture is a network of hubs strategically sited within the Southern California megalopolis: Los Angeles, Burbank, Hollywood, and San Diego. Together, these sites form a critical infrastructure for architectural investigations. The school’s undergraduate and graduate programs in architecture and interior architecture train students as entrepreneurs, architect citizens, and cultural builders.