Alumni Spotlight:
Fernando Brave (M.Arch. '88)

January 24, 2024

Name: ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Fernando L. Brave, FAIA
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Major: Master of Architecture
Graduation Year: 1988
Title: Founding Principal

"I am particularly fond of the fact that we primarily serve community-based projects. We work with clients whose missions are, in different ways, to improve the quality of life in the region."

Why did you choose the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design? What drew you to design?
I moved to Houston for family reasons, so in a way, UH chose me. I quickly found it to be a welcoming institution and an easy-to-navigate College, especially for someone from a different system abroad.

What is one of your favorite memories from your time on campus? Was there a particular professor who influenced your education?
One of the best memories from those days was becoming familiar with computer-based design, something new to me at the time. Although I was not interested in pursuing a career in space design, my involvement with the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture (SICSA) at UH also provided an interesting perspective and a completely novel way of tackling design challenges.

above: Parker Elementary and Kipling School

Tell us about a typical day in your job. Do you have a particular design or business philosophy?
Our practice is based on exploratory design, influenced by the modern movement of the 30s to the 60s but strongly rooted in Houston's vernacular architecture. Our work devotes much attention to site utilization, function, and morphology. We are also committed to efficiently using project funds, finding economical solutions, and ensuring our projects are not following current design fads or trends regarding aesthetics.

What is one career accomplishment of which you are particularly proud? How do you feel the College prepared you for this?
I am particularly fond of the fact that we primarily serve community-based projects. We work with clients whose missions are, in different ways, to improve the quality of life in the region. I am also proud our efforts have been recognized with numerous local and regional awards, including being named Firm of the Year by the AIA Houston in 2018, receiving the Firm Honor Award bestowed by the Texas Society of Architects in 2021, and, of course, having been recently recognized by UH Architecture and Design Alumni Association with the Distinguished Alumni Award. My elevation to the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows due to my dedication to disseminating our profession to a broader audience was also a very welcomed distinction.

above: Houston Texans YMCA and Sicardi Ayers Bacino Gallery

What is one valuable lesson you learned during your time at the Hines College?
At the Hines College, I learned to work with others. Our practice is, for the most part, based on collaboration. This is something I instituted at my firm. The best work comes from hearing each other out, especially when working with people of diverse backgrounds. UH was an excellent testbed for such learning.

What advice would you give to current architecture and design students?
Architecture is not easy, and you have to keep trying. Good architects flourish at varying times during their careers. For some, it happens soon after school; for others, it takes more time. Different criteria can measure success. It is important not to give up. Students and practitioners must find their passion within the profession and work on that. Architecture is the most versatile education and certainly one of the most rewarding at many levels.

Instagram: @bravearchitecture


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