Ana Maria Durán Calisto is an Ecuadorean architect, urbanist, educator and writer. She co-founded the design firm Estudio A0 in 2002 with her partner Jaskran (Jazz) Singh Kalirai in Quito, Ecuador, after receiving a Master of Architecture from PennDesign at the University of Pennsylvania, and a Liberal Arts Bachelor´s degree from Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Since its inception, Estudio A0 has developed significant projects in Ecuador, awarded through public and private competitions, or obtained through direct commission. The main pursuit of the firm is to develop environmentally responsible design and construction systems at all scales, by focusing on the possibilities of recycling, in situ clean energy production, water harvesting and reuse, high and low tech hybrids (artesanal high-tech), architectural landscaping, the investigation of local materials, and the reactivation of local ecologies.
Durán Calisto is currently undertaking a PhD in Urban Planning at UCLA, with Professor Susanna Hecht as her main advisor. The focus of her research is the history of urbanization in Amazonia. Durán Calisto has been teaching at the School of Architecture, Design and Arts of Universidad Católica del Ecuador since 2002. She has been a visiting professor at the Taubman College of the University of Michigan (2014) and visiting faculty at the GSD (Harvard University, 2007-2008), the GSAPP (Columbia University, 2006-2007), USFQ (2000-2002), UTE (2003), and UDLA (2003-2005). In 2008, she redesigned cipArq (the School for the City, Landscape and Architecture of Universidad Internacional) as its dean.
During her Loeb Fellowship (2010-2011, GSD, Harvard University) she developed, with Felipe Correa, the South America Project (SAP), an open research network focused on providing design alternatives for the on-going process of continental planning. She directed the XV Quito Pan-American Architecture Biennale: Visible Cities (2004-2006) and has been involved with its Academic Committee since the year 2002. She has also been National Delegate for the XV BIAU (2014), advisor to the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing on matters related to the UN Conference Habitat III (2015), and advisor to Inmobiliar (2014) on new governmental urban interventions. She has been curator and juror for the Premio Rogelio Salmona (2015-2016) and nominator for the Veronica Rudge Green Prize in Urban Design.
Durán Calisto has lectured extensively on the topics of her interest and she has edited the books Beyond Petropolis: Designing a Practical Utopia in Nueva Loja with Michael Sorkin and Matthias Altwicker, and the first volume of the FADA-PUCE archives. Her essays have been published in diverse magazines (Harvard Design Magazine, RADAR, Plot, 30-60: cuaderno latinoamericano de arquitectura, Plataforma Arquitectura, ArchDaily, RED Fundamentos, CITE, AULA, GAM, TRAMA, Clave, Cuestiones Urbanas) and books (Thinking Practice; Restructuring from Within; Reimagining Mumbai´s Back Bay; A Line in the Andes; Beyond the Supersquare: Art and Architecture in Latin America after Modernism; Diego Ponce Bueno: Arquitectura y Ciudad).
She has participated in the exhibitions “Diálogos impostergables” (XX Bienal de Arquitectura y Urbanismo de Chile), “Postcolonial Urbanism” (Eventi Collaterali, 15. Mostra Internazionale di Architettura di Venezia, la Biennale di Venezia), “La escala prevalence” (FLACSO, Quito), “Post Post Post: Young Latin American Architecture” (CCEBA, Buenos Aires), and “Breaking Borders: New Latin American Architecture” (Pratt Institute, NY).
Since 2003, her research focuses on unveiling the processes of urbanization in complex ecologies like the Amazon River Basin and the Galapagos Islands, understanding the impact of the infrastructural integration of South America (IIRSA/COSIPLAN), and studying the forces shaping contemporary Latin American design practices.