Dr Luis Fernando Zapata Montalvo

Job: Senior Lecturer; BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology Programme Leader

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: Leicester School of Architecture

Research group(s): Architecture Research Institute

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK

T: +44 (0)116 257 7430

E: luis.zapatamontalvo@dmu.ac.uk

W: https://www.dmu.ac.uk/lsa


Personal profile

Dr Luis Fernando Zapata Montalvo is Senior Lecturer at the Leicester School of Architecture. In the course of his practice experience he has developed advanced skills in architectural design and construction of residential, commercial, industrial and public buildings working in several architectural projects as a freelance architect and in architecture firms. Dr. Zapata was lecturer in architecture and construction technology at the University of the Valley of Mexico and the School of Architecture, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education in Mexico City Mexico, where he was architecture program director. He also worked as tutor and lecturer in architecture and construction technology and management at the University of Melbourne and at Deakin University in Australia. Since his involvement in academia, he has participated in international conferences and has been guest lecturer at the University of Seville in Spain. Dr. Zapata’s teaching philosophy places emphasis on evidence-based design, critical inquiry, and active and experiential learning. His position in teaching is that architecture and technology architecture education is not simply the imparting of knowledge and skills necessary for practice, but it also involves development of values, ideologies, cultural and philosophical positions. It also emphasizes the importance of understanding the environment as having multiple realities by understanding not only sustainable and technological principles of design and construction but also values, preferences, and lifestyles of people.

Research group affiliations

Architecture Research Institute

Research interests/expertise

  • Typological transformations in traditional architecture
  • Sustainable design and construction processes and their impact in the built environment
  • Vernacular Architecture and heritage conservation.
  • Disaster resilience, emerging building practices and disaster relief shelters.

Areas of teaching

  • Architectural Design
  • Architectural and Construction Technology
  • Environmental design


  • Bachelor of Architecture (Hons), University of the Valley of Mexico.
  • Master of Science in construction technology (MSc), National Autonomous University of Mexico.
  • Master of Architecture (March), Polytechnic of Turin, Italy.
  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), University of Melbourne, Australia. 

Courses taught

  • Architecture Design Studio 1 and 2
  • Sustainable Building Principles
  • Building Performance and Technology 2 and 3
  • Building Technology 2
  • Building Design 2
  • Comprehensive Dissertation
  • Design Research Laboratory 1 and 2 (Msc)

Honours and awards

  • Scholarship awarded by the government of Mexico and the University of Melbourne, Australia / (2011) to carry out PhD studies in architecture.
  • Scholarship awarded by the Government of Japan and the Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA / (2005) to carry out training in Energy efficiency and conservation in buildings.
  • Distinction of Academic Excellence / (1999), University of the Valley of Mexico, best Professor Award, granted by the Division of Arts and Humanities. Mexico.
  • Cum Laude in architecture. Master’s Degree / (1996) awarded by the Polytechnic of Turin – Italy.
  • Scholarship awarded by the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy / (1995) to carry out Master Degree studies in Technology, Architecture and Urban Planning.
  • Scholarship awarded by the government of Mexico – CONACYT / (1994) to carry out master degree studies in architecture at the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy.
  • Academic excellence award by the University of the Valley of Mexico- Mexico / (1993) in recognition of outstanding performance in undergraduate study.

Membership of professional associations and societies

  • The Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT)

Conference attendance

  • NMP – New Metropolitan Perspectives, Reggio Calabria, Italy 2020, Presentation: Urban Art as a Popular Expression in the Historic Centre of Mexico City
  • HERITAGE- 6th International Conference on Heritage and Sustainable Development, Granada, Spain 2018, Presentation: Furniture and other household objects as integrative elements of the house form
  • REHAB - The International Conference on Preservation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Historic Buildings and Structures, Tomar, Portugal 2014. Presentation: Ritualized architecture in East Mexico
  • POP/CAANZ - Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand, Brisbane, Australia 2013, Presentation: For Kitsch’s sake!!!
  • PCACA - Popular Culture Association / American Culture Association, Boston, Massachusetts, USA 2012, Presentation: Architecture behind the Mask
  • ACAH –IAFOR - The Asian Conference on Arts and Humanities- The International Academic Forum, Tokyo, Japan, 2010. Presentation: The architecture of colour in the Buildings of Luis Barragan
  • PLEA - Passive and Low Energy Architecture, Louvain La Neuve, Belgium, 1996, Presentation: Eco technologies

Current research students

  • Mr. Ha Xuan Viet Doan: “A framework for coastal building resistance in Vietnam”, Full-time mode, 2nd Supervisor.
  • Mr. Thanasak Phttayakorn: “A Frame work for Designing Football Stadium in Tropical Climate, Full-time mode, 2nd Supervisor.
  • Miss. Nwakaego Onyenokporo: “Investigation into the use of rice husk ash for sandcrete block production to improve cost and energy performance of buildings, Full-time mode, 2nd Supervisor.

Internally funded research project information

GCRF (Global Challenges Research Fund) award (Co-awarded with Mr. Simon Bradbury and Prof. Ahmad Taki) for the project Socio-cultural and environmental experiences in low-income, tropical housing.