K12 Education: Get to Know Hector De Santiago

Category: Architecture

Written By: Valerie Edgren

Date: September 29, 2021

K12 Education: Get to Know Hector De Santiago cover image

Hector De Santiago, AIA, CNUA, is a Principal and K-12 Studio Leader in Parkhill’s K-12 Sector. He has developed expertise in educational projects over the past 29 years. Hector has led project teams that have provided innovative, award-winning, and sound design solutions.   

Q: What values set Parkhill apart for you?  

Real innovation and humble leadership are what, in my opinion, set Parkhill apart from others. The fact that we are set up in sectors allows us to build expertise working together, guided with best practices and data-driven design solutions.  

Q: What project has given you a passion for your expertise?  

I can’t pinpoint a specific project, but being in the K-12 sector, I can say that every new school, addition, or renovation project has been a rewarding experience. I have the utmost respect for educators and school administrators for what they can accomplish with the resources they have at their reach. Through collaboration with the entire project team, my intent is to make the learning environment as pleasant and as conducive as possible for effective learning engagement.  

Q: Tell us about your honors, awards, or a fascinating experience in your career. 

Without a doubt, the most fascinating experiences I have had were when we had ribbon-cutting ceremonies where schools were opened up to the public — watching the excitement of students, parents, and educators of the learning environments that Parkhill has designed. It is an extremely rewarding experience. Secondly, I have had the privilege of giving back to the profession by serving in numerous roles in the local El Paso Chapter AIA, including Chapter President, serving two terms on the Texas Architects Board of Directors, being chosen as Texas Architects Committee Advisory Trustee at the state level, and serving as the El Paso Chamber’s Education Committee Chair.  

Q:  What do you think is the next challenge in your field?  

The next challenge is to advance the building performance from an energy standpoint. We are already using tools to maximize the energy performance of a facility, but we need to keep pushing the envelope in this regard.  

Q: Looking forward, where do you see your practice going in the next 20 years?  

I envision that automated construction will be more relevant in the next 20 years and how our designs will need to adapt, taking this delivery method into consideration.