Skip to main content

Ernesto Fonseca is one of 'Forty-Under-40'

April 16, 2009

The ASU College of Design’s Ernesto Fonseca was named as one of The Phoenix Business Journal’s 2009 “Forty-Under-40.” The designation honors professionals who have made significant contributions to the community and who have achieved remarkable milestones in their careers.

Fonseca is an ASU Stardust Center designer/architect and urban planner who has a commitment to environmental sustainability and energy conservation with a particular sensitivity to multicultural communities. He currently is pursuing a PhD in Environmental Design and Planning at ASU and is passionate about developing innovative affordable, energy-efficient and culturally relevant housing.

During 2006 Fonseca earned his Masters in Energy and Climate and Building Sciences at ASU. Since beginning his graduate studies, he has worked for the Stardust Center on innovative housing projects and led the Stardust Center’s design/build project in 2006. He worked closely with residents and city officials of Guadalupe, a small Yaqui and Mexican-American community in the Phoenix-metro area. He also collaborated with numerous volunteer and non-profit agencies including Guadalupe Youth Build to construct a home and conducted the post-occupancy energy monitoring. Fonseca adds an important dimension to the Stardust team with his creativity, knowledge and skills that bridges cultures and generations.

Fonseca has been intensely involved in the architectural design and planning, energy engineering and, in some cases, the actual building of projects. During the summer of 2005, work was completed on the Nageezi House, Stardust Center’s first demonstration home. Located on allotted lands of the Navajo Nation, Fonseca was involved in the design, construction and post-occupancy energy monitoring of this culturally relevant home for a family of Navajo elders.

Through his private practice, Fonseca is designing a 900-acre eco-village in La Paz, Mexico. He’s also working with the city of Nogales, Sonora, to establish their first municipal planning institute in collaboration with fellow College of Design colleague, Francisco Lara. 

Having completed a professional degree in architecture in Mexico, with a specialization in materials, Fonseca arrived in the U.S. during 1998; however, he was unable to find work in his professional field. Determined to patiently work hard and persevere, he earned a living as a restaurant server, factory painter and a group home manager/caretaker of physically and developmentally disabled youths and adults. With the encouragement and support of his partner, Susan, he was inspired to apply to ASU to further his education.