Álvaro Rojas studied architecture at the Brooklyn Technical High School (1968), New York City, and at the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies of the City College of the City University of New York (1973), graduating with honors and receiving several prizes, including the New York State Women’s Chapter of the A.I.A. for his thesis project.
Between 1967 and 1975, and between 1982 and 1988, Mr. Rojas worked in New York City and Memphis for numerous design firms including Squassi Engineers, R.W. Kahn Associates, Julian & Barbara Neski, H.O.K., GN&B (Memphis), Castro-Blanco, Piscioneri & Feder, Space Structures, The New York Land Company Real Estate Developers and others. He has ample experience in design of shopping malls, office buildings, office interiors, retail stores, restaurants and other architectural typologies. From 2011 to 2013, he was the local architect associated with the RPBW/ Renzo Piano Building Workshop/Paris & Genova, on the design of the proposed and unbuilt elementary school of El Rodeo de Mora, Costa Rica.
Founder of Fournier_Rojas Arquitectos-Fo_RoARQ (1976), an architectural studio dedicated to environmentally responsible tropical design.
He has been an architectural educator since 1976 and founder (1993) of the University of Design and its Faculty of Architecture and Environmental Studies, an experimental and alternative school of architecture that he directed as President of the University and Dean of the School of Architecture for 18 years. He is founder (1998) of the “Mundaneum” International Architecture re_UNIONS, held on fourteen occasions since 1999. The most recent in Mendoza, Argentina in September 2019 and at the Spitzer School of Architecture of the City College of New York / CUNY in April 2019.
He has given more than 100 international lectures in the United States, China, Spain, France, Italy, Montenegro and practically in all countries in Latin America. He has been a visiting professor in 2012 and 2018 at the Escola da Cidade, in São Paulo, Brazil and in numerous schools of architecture in other countries.
He has won several international awards, including two from the World Architecture Organization and an honorable mention at the 2016 S.Arch Awards, in Budva, Montenegro. Another of his projects, Centro Uxarrací, Costa Rica, was a finalist in the international competition "Architecture of Necessity", later exhibited at the Virserum Museum in Sweden in 2010. Several of his projects have been published in books and magazines in Sweden, Germany, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, China, Australia, Korea, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Brazil, Chile, Argentina and other countries.
He has written articles for several architecture magazines in Costa Rica and abroad.
Álvaro Rojas was curator and co-author of the book "mundaneum 1999-2019: mondo nostrum", edited jointly with Spanish architects Federico Soriano and Dolores Palacios. This book won the Costa Rica International Architecture Biennial Award 2020.
He is co-founder of the experimental postgraduate program in architecture and urban planning based in New York “The Nomad School for Planetary Design” together with architects James Wines, Michael Sorkin and Mauricio Quirós, a postgraduate educational project still in the process of being launched worldwide.
Among his most important projects are: the departure lounges building of the Juan Santamaría International Airport (1978), the Omni Center Building (1982), the Gutis Building (1982), the headquarters of the Canadian Embassy in San José (1995) and in Santiago de Chile (1996), the offices for the International Development Bank, the headquarters building of Van der Laat & Jiménez Construction Company (2008) and the El Rodeo de Mora Community Center (2013), profusely published worldwide and finalist in the 2017 ArchMarathon International Architecture Awards.
At the moment he is in charge of the conservation and conversion project to a popular market, of the historic “beneficio de café” (coffee mill) “La Marta”, built in 1933, former campus of Universidad del Diseño, located in Santa Marta de Montes de Oca, San José, Costa Rica.