Webinars & Livestreams

The safety gap created by an unaffordable design and construction industry

The structural impact suffered by homes after recent hurricanes and earthquakes has brought forth the need to involve design and construction industry professionals in home building so that people’s safety is guaranteed. The fact is that hiring these professionals is beyond the means of most people.

Buying, building or remodeling a home in Puerto Rico has costs attached to design, permitting, construction or purchasing, and all these require either cash-at-hand or a high credit score to obtain financing. As an alternative, people can request public housing or undertake DIY construction, often without the skills, knowledge or tools to follow safe building practices.

This webinar explored alternatives to ensuring that the average person has access to a safe and healthy living environment. Some ideas to be covered include gathering housing data to understand Puerto Rico’s current situation, changing public policy to recognize housing as a human right, and approaching professional practice as a public service.

Speakers Biographies

Cristina Algaze Beato is a registered architect with a Master’s degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech and an additional Master’s degree on Bioclimatic Architecture and Environmental Studies from the Polytechnic University of Madrid, Spain. She became a LEED Accredited Professional by the Green Building Certification Institute in 2007 and has worked as the coordinator of LEED certifications and green building practices in numerous projects. She is currently the principal and senior architect in MASS, LLC, a consulting services firm. Recurrently she has worked as Senior Architect while collaborating with architectural design firms such as RMA-Architects, PSC.

Ms. Algaze has repeatedly served as a professor at the University of Puerto Rico’s School of Architecture, at the School of Fine Arts of PR and at the Catholic University of Puerto Rico.

Her recent involvement as Board member of the College of Architects and Landscape Architects of Puerto Rico’s, and earlier as President and Board member of the US Caribbean Chapter of the US Green Building Council, has given her first-hand involvement with volunteer work in Puerto Rico, especially within the green building movement for over thirteen years.

Rebeca Vicens Sánchez is a registered architect with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Design from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech. Her professional practice has ranged from residential renovations, low-income housing and participatory design processes, to cultural and educational projects centered on the arts and the physical environment. She has worked with numerous nonprofits as project architect, manager and coordinator on initiatives such as art and educational exhibitions, community organizing around public space conservation, and low-income housing construction.

In 2009, she founded the nonprofit organization Transformando Nuestro Entorno, a platform to raise awareness about topics related to the preservation and responsible development of Puerto Rico’s physical environment.

As Strategic Initiatives Director for Filantropía Puerto Rico she identifies, strategizes and puts into operations initiatives that advance the organization’s mission of increasing and expanding philanthropic efforts in Puerto Rico. Key projects under her leadership include the FORWARD Puerto Rico Fund, a pooled fund that supports nonprofit organizations that advocate for an equitable recovery of the layered crises facing the island; and the Housing Action Dialogue, a working group for funders to learn together, strategize, and align efforts around issues of housing and land security.

If you are a grantmaker seeking to improve the lives of the marginalized, become a member to connect with other philanthropic entities and amplify your impact.


Cristina Algaze Beato

Principal of MASS, LLC

Rebeca Vicens Sánchez

Rebeca Vicens Sánchez

Registered Architect and Strategic Initiatives Director, Filantropía Puerto Rico


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