Fernando Luiz Lara is a Brazilian architect with degrees from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (BArch, 1993) and the University of Michigan (PhD, 2001). Prof. Lara's interests revolve around Latin American 20th century architecture with emphasis on the dissemination of its values beyond the traditional disciplinary boundaries. His PhD dissertation on this topic was expanded into a book: The Rise of Popular Modernist Architecture in Brazil, published in 2008 by the University Press of Florida. In his several articles Prof. Lara has discussed the modern and the contemporary Brazilian architecture, its meaning, context and social-economic insertion. His latest publications look at the modernist vocabulary and spatiality being appropriated by the humblest favela dwellers.
A member of the Brazilian Institute of Architects and the Brazilian DOCOMOMO, Lara has also been active in his native country as a critic, researcher and educator. A licensed architect in Brazil, Lara has designed many structures, alone or in partnership with others. His current interest in the favelas has turned into opportunities to engage with public policy at the municipal level as well as collaborations with local firms designing public spaces in informal settlements. In 2005 he founded Studio Toró, a non-profit devoted to the challenges of water conservation and urban flooding in Latin America.
At the University of Texas at Austin Fernando Lara teaches seminars on 20th century Latin American architecture and urbanism, as well as studios related to the continent's current urban challenges.