2024 Knowles Architecture Alumni Lecture: Shawn Evans and Garron Yepa of MASS Design Group

MASS Design Group recently merged with the Santa Fe office of AOS Architects, a firm with offices in Philadelphia and Santa Fe. The group is focused on community-based preservation and cultural conservation, including a research-based segment of their practice. Evans and Yepa will discuss their focus on community-based design and cultural heritage preservation, particularly in Indigenous communities, and their work with the federal government on standards for Indigenous housing and settlements.

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Co-Presenter Bios

Shawn Evans, AIA, APT-RP, Principal

Shawn Evans serves as a Principal at MASS Design Group, where he co-leads the Santa Fe Studio. Shawn joined MASS in 2022 through a strategic partnership with AOS Architects, where he led a wide range of planning, preservation, museum, higher education, affordable housing, and tribal projects during his 27-year tenure. Through his work developing innovative heritage approaches with tribal communities, rural villages, and prominent historic sites, he has become a vocal advocate for reforming the practice of historic preservation in ways that center contemporary communities over a nostalgia for the past. His work has been widely published and recognized with over 40 design awards. Under Shawn's leadership, AOS Architects received the AIA New Mexico Firm of the Year Award in 2021. He is a past fellow of the James Marston Fitch Foundation and is a Recognized Professional by the Association for Preservation Technology. Shawn studied architecture at Texas A&M University and holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. He has taught architecture and planning studios as well as historic preservation at Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of New Mexico.

Garron Yepa, Assoc. AIA, AICAE, Senior Designer

Garron Yepa is a Jemez Pueblo and Diné designer who supports reciprocal partnerships to realize essential, innovative, and lasting design solutions. Garron was born and raised in New Mexico and brings his cultural and regional knowledge to every architectural project. As the son of a Navajo (Dine) mother and a Jemez Pueblo (Towa) father, Garron has a unique perspective on architecture and design. Being a fluent Towa speaker has given him insight into another way of describing the world around him. As a Senior Designer at MASS Design Group, Garron manages and leads various projects in the Santa Fe office working in arenas that highlight preservation, higher education, and tribal communities. These projects reinforce the significance and sense of place as well as reflect the cultures of each collaboration. Each project reflects his commitment to fostering teamwork and engagement with the partner communities. Garron has a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Engineering and Native American Studies from Dartmouth College and a Master of Architecture from the University of New Mexico. Garron currently sits on the board of directors of Cornerstones Community Partnerships and is a member of the Cultural Properties Review Committee of the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office.

Images, Counter Clockwise from upper left: Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Image: Iwan Baan; Butaro District Hospital, Image: MASS Design Group; Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Project, Ohkay Owingeh, Image: Minesh Bacrania; Owe’neh Bupingeh Preservation Project, Ohkay Owingeh, Image: Minesh Bacrania