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.
Laura is currently a full-time student at Texas Tech College of Architecture in El Paso. She started her architecture journey at the age of 16 while attending Burges High School. As a member of the Burges Technology Club, Laura along with some of her classmates won first place in the Technology Student Association design competition in El Paso and placed in second for the state of Texas. In the beginning of 2018, Laura started working for Pointe Homes as her first experience in the design world. Laura plans to further her education by completing her Master's and her main goal is to become a licensed architect. She hopes Root Architects, will help her expand her knowledge to further enhance the future that awaits
Irving recently graduated from TTU college of Architecture with the distinction Cum Laude and was nominated and initiated as a Tau Sigma Delta Honor Society member. During his academic pathway, with a special interest in Parametric, Environmental Justice and “Geo-mimicry” design, his work got selected for various expositions including the “Two Sides of The Border” exhibit at Yale’s School of Architecture followed by a printed publication of the same name. Now working at Root, he seeks to expand his understanding of the architecture world and acquire skills and knowledge necessary to continue his journey in architecture.
Jamie Langan is a recent transplant from the East Coast who was born and raised in Helmetta, New Jersey. In 2016, she graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan, NY with an Associate’s degree in Interior Design. She currently has 3 years of work experience in the industry and is attending school again to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Architecture and Design online at the Academy of Art University. Growing up in the melting pot of the country and living an hour away from New York City and Philadelphia she had a vast cultural experience. Wanting a change of pace and to move to the desert, a place she has grown extremely fond of, this FIT graduate wanted to bring her Interior Design degree and work experience to the South West. She hopes to make a difference and bring some East Coast culture to El Paso and Southern New Mexico with her Root team.