PJHM Spotlight: Monique Betancourt


Hi, my name is Monique Betancourt and I am excited to be a part of the PJHM team! I became interested in architecture as an undergrad at UC Santa Cruz when I took a History of Modern Architecture class with professor Mahlon Chute. From there, my appreciation for architecture continued to grow while pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Art History and Visual Culture and delving into every class on the subject.
My passion was born in Antoni Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia, Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and photographing Santa Cruz’s bridges and San Francisco’s cityscapes.

Antoni Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain
Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (MarinaDa / Shutterstock.com)
Antoni Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia
Antoni Gaudi’s Ceiling of La Sagrada Familia (Albert Nowicki / Shutterstock.com)
Metropolis Movie Poster
Metropolis Movie Poster

I interned at William Fisher Architecture in downtown Santa Cruz, where I was introduced to CAD, residential architecture and small scale commercial jobs. I was involved in a range of projects including restoration of the Downtown Historic District’s Victorian homes and even UCSC’s beautiful campus. A marriage between my research in the office and research at school led to my most challenging and rewarding project which began with a study of the Santa Cruz Green Building Program with architect Bill Fisher and grew to a larger project investigating the city’s sustainable building laws with their application in day to day designs and the larger scale sustainable designs of Shigeru Ban. This allowed me to explore sustainable building practices and the political vs. environmental motivations that drive green building codes.
My interest in architecture fueled a love for traveling. In my third year, I spent a semester abroad in Rome where I studied Italian, women in art, and Roman Baroque art and architecture. The most memorable part of my trip and my college career was Professor Alei’s hours-long lectures spent winding up and down the eternal city through as many cathedrals as possible, admiring the relics in ruins of
il Colosseo or the softest most lifelike details of Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne.

The Colosseum in Rome
The Colosseum in Rome
Bernini's Apolo and Daphne
Bernini’s Apolo and Daphne (Luxerendering / Shutterstock.com)
Standing on the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica
Standing on the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica

In the past, I worked at Richart Design in Costa Mesa, where I gained more experience in residential and commercial projects and was really able to push myself working for a growing, fast-paced company.

So far my experience at PJHM has been more than I anticipated. I look forward to learning and growing with such a talented and driven team!