root is a boutique architectural design firm with a focus on adapting historic buildings, fermenting culture and cultivating community.
Root Architects was born out of frustration and excitement for what is lacking and what may come to be for development and architectural design in El Paso. Founded in 2010, the mission was always to give some life and positive contributions back to the El Paso community. The Root team, seeing the endless potential of our city, is dedicated to revitalizing, enhancing and improving the El Paso historical fabric in order to bring it up to par with other cities. The motivation for our work is seeing how the community continually learns, evolves, grows & thrives. Whether we’re keeping historic spaces sacred or creating new ones that elevate our city, we are determined to revamp the community with carefully thought out and designed spaces.
Rida founded ROOT ARCHITECTS in 2010, has over twenty years of experience in the design and construction fields. Throughout his career, Rida has studied and traveled throughout the country, Europe, and the Near East; with an emphasis on historic preservation, sustainable design, and urban revitalization. Rida has worked with nationally recognized design firms in Boston and San Antonio before moving home to El Paso and is actively involved in the city’s revitalization efforts.
University of Texas at San Antonio, Graduate School of Architecture
Master of Architecture (2004)
University of Texas at El Paso
Bachelor of Science: Biology (2001)
Christopher Esper is a native El Pasoan, he earned his Bachelor's of Science in Architecture from Texas Tech University, and then a Master of Architecture degree from Harvard University. Christopher worked in New York for ODA Architecture and then moved to Singapore in 2016 to work for SCDA Architects, an International design firm specializing in housing and hospitality where he worked on several mixed-use projects throughout Southeast Asia. In early 2018, Christopher returned to his hometown of El Paso where he joined Root Architects – a boutique architectural design firm that focuses on adapting historic buildings, fermenting culture and cultivating community. As a Principal at Root, he is focused on revitalizing and repurposing the historic fabric of the city through a range of mixed-use projects. Currently, he sits on the Historic Landmark Commission for the City of El Paso and is an Instructor at the Texas Tech College of Architecture campus in El Paso, Texas.
Charles Austin has extensive experience in all phases of architectural design and practice. Originally from El Paso TX, Charles studied at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he graduated with the distinction Magna Cum Lade. He continued his architectural education in Cambridge, MA, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he finished among the top of his class and was honored with the Francis Ward Chandler Award for achievement in architectural design. After receiving his Master of Architecture degree from MIT in May 2005, Charles relocated to Los Angeles to work under the direction of Pritzker Prize winner Thom Mayne of the world renowned architecture firm Morphosis. Upon Completion of his internship with Morphosis, Charles joined the international firm NBBJ Architects, Los Angeles, CA as a junior designer. During his time there, he personally implemented the use of “Building Information Modeling” or BIM, in building and facade design.
Director of Research & Technology
Catherine Söderberg Esper was born and raised in Queens, New York. In 2012, she received her Bachelor of Architecture degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, and upon graduating was awarded the Norman Rosenfeld Scholarship for Final Degree Project. Shortly thereafter, she was announced to be the sole teaching assistant for the three-month Undergraduate Architecture Summer Program in Berlin, Germany. In 2015, she graduated Harvard University Graduate School of Design with a Master of Architecture degree.
Throughout schooling and after, Catherine worked for boutique firms in New York City and Los Angeles. In 2016, her continued interest in researching novel methods of fabrication and material development for architectural applications led her to find a research position at Nanyang Technological University’s Center for 3D Printing in Singapore. As part of the research group focusing in building and construction, Catherine initiated various projects for concrete 3D printing and worked side by side a large team comprised of material scientists, robotic engineers and civil engineers. Together with the students, she developed extrudable mixtures made from recycled materials and even won 6th place internationally for NASA’s 3D Print Habitat Challenge in 2017.
She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor at Texas Tech University in El Paso while simultaneously working on local large-scale fabrication projects that explore the mergence of materiality and technology with the built environment.
Ruben Garcia is a Project designer with over 5 years of experience. Ruben has a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial design and contributes to Root’s portfolio of product, furniture and identity design. Ruben’s accomplished career in the technical aspects of design and architectural documentation allow for Root’s projects to be precisely and expeditiously delivered.