Maria’s interest in the impact of space on people’s lives, in the relationship of communities with their surroundings, and in architecture as a tool for social development have led her to focus her career as much on buildings as on people. Born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, Maria studied architecture in Universidad de los Andes where she graduated magna cum laude in 2012. In Colombia, she worked on the design and construction of small-scale commercial and residential projects in her own architecture practice, she collaborated with other architects in institutional and hospitality projects, and she was part of the participatory design team at the non-profit Fundación Escuela Taller de Bogotá (FETB). While at the FETB Maria directed community engagement workshops and led participatory design activities for the revitalization plan of three public markets in Bogotá. In 2016 Maria completed a Master’s degree in Historic Preservation at Columbia University. Her graduate thesis explored participatory processes in preservation planning through installation art, and was granted a Faculty Award for Outstanding Thesis for community based preservation.