José Ibarra portrait

José Ibarra

Assistant Professor


José Ibarra is a Venezuelan designer, researcher, and educator whose interdisciplinary work focuses on the intersection of architecture and environmental uncertainty. He is founder of Studio José Ibarra and co-founder of House Operations and the Agency for Work and Play. Ibarra is chair of the ACSA 2023–2024 Research & Scholarship Committee.

Ibarra’s research is centered around architecture’s capacity to productively assess and work with situations, usually crises. Through his teaching, design work, and writing, he generates multifocal ways to redefine design amidst social unrest, environmental degradation, and climate crisis. Recently, Ibarra published the book, Werewolf: The Architecture of Lunacy, Shapeshifting, and Material Metamorphosis (AR+D, 2022), co-edited alongside Caroline O'Donnell, and curated the exhibition, Beyond Repair: Architecture After Urban Crisis (Charlottesville, 2021). Ibarra is the curator of Table Manners, a series of academically engaging events that prioritizes bringing people together in unexpected ways. Ibarra is also editor and founder of the Architecture Reading Group and has been an editor of ASSOCIATION, The Cornell Journal of Architecture, and Pidgin Magazine. Ibarra's teaching has been awarded the 2022 ACSA/AIA New Faculty Teaching Award. His scholarship and design work have been recognized and published globally. Most recently, he received a Graham Foundation grant for his collaborative project with Liz Gálvez, Latinx Coalition Chats.

Ibarra was the 2019–2020 Urban Edge Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Prior to joining the University of Colorado Denver, he was an Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Virginia from 2020 to 2022. At the University of Colorado Denver, he is advancing design work and research dealing with architectural processes, time, and geoempathy. 

Research & Creative Projects

Students and guests review Tables Manners work in a room lit by pink and purple lights.
José Ibarra. Table Manners: Housing Geostories with Rania Ghosn. 2023.

José Ibarra & Caroline O'Donnell. Werewolf: The Architecture of Lunacy, Shapeshifting, and Material Metamorphosis. AR+D, 2022.


Model United Constituencies exhibition by  José Ibarra
José Ibarra. Model United Constituencies. 2020. Photograph by Josh Alsum.

Uncertain Grounds: Rethinking Settlement in the Anthropocene by José Ibarra.

José Ibarra. Uncertain Grounds: Rethinking Settlement in the Anthropocene. 2019.

José Ibarra & Deborah Garcia. Digesting Materiality, A Disorderly Colloquium. 2018.

Areas of Expertise

Ibarra’s scholarship centers on social unrest, environmental degradation, and climate crisis. His current work foregrounds research on urban crises and geoempathy, a new term he uses to describe a design of process which yields new objects that respond to and interact with other things in the world. Ibarra’s research interests make their way into the classroom through discussions, design exercises, speculative fiction writing, and other storytelling techniques.

Education, Licensure & Certifications

Associate in Arts, Architecture, Miami Dade College
Bachelor of Architecture, Cornell University
Post-Professional M.Arch, Princeton University


2023 Individual Grant (with Liz Gálvez), Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts
2023 Virginia & Robert Fuller Traveling Scholarship, American Institute of Architects Colorado
2023 James M. Hunter Traveling Scholarship, American Institute of Architects Colorado
2023 CAP Faculty Evolve Seed Grants, University of Colorado Denver2022 ACSA/AIA New Faculty Teaching Award (Full-Time Faculty Category), ACSA
2021 Faculty Summer Publication Grants, University of Virginia
Premio Félix Candela Competition Honorable Mention, IESARQ
Support for Undergraduate Research Fellows Faculty Award, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2019–2020 Urban Edge Fellowship, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2019 Robert Geddes Post-Professional Award, Princeton University
Graduate Certificate in Media and Modernity, Princeton University
Council on Science and Technology Research Grant, Princeton University
Charles M. Hanna and Margaret T. Hanna Fellowship, Princeton University
Howard Crosby Butler Traveling Fellowship in Architecture, Princeton University
Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar and Fellow, HSF

College of Architecture and Planning

CU Denver

CU Denver Building

1250 14th Street


Denver, CO 80202


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