Javier Arpa Fernández is the Research and Education Coordinator of the Why Factory at the Faculty of Architecture of TU Delft. The Why Factory is a think-tank led by Prof. Winy Maas that explores possibilities for the development of our cities by focusing on the production of models and visualisations for cities of the future. Javier currently also holds a position of lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (USA). He has been lecturer at Harvard and Columbia Universities in the USA, ENSA-Bellevile and ENSA-Versailles in France, and IE University in Spain.
Javier was Editor in Chief for a+t research group, one of Europe’s leading publishers in architecture and urban design.
He worked for a number of architecture firms in Argentina, The Netherlands, Spain and France, and led several urban planning projects in China. As a consultant, he provides independent advice to the different stakeholders involved in the development of a variety of urban design projects in France.
He is the curator of the exhibitions “Paris Habitat”, held at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris, and is the author of the monograph “Paris Habitat: One Hundred Years of City, One Hundred Years of Life”. In 2013, he co-organized the conference “The City That Never Was” in cooperation with the Architectural League of New York. This event used the recent economic and urban crisis in Spain as a lens through which to consider future global patterns of urbanization and settlement. As lecturer and researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, he is currently conducting the research project “Africa: An Atlas of Speculative Urbanization”, and curated the exhibition “African Speculations” at the Kuala Lumpur Architecture Festival. The research explores the recent proliferation of speculative urbanisation activities across the African continent. Despite the urgent demand for urbanistic upgrades throughout much of Africa, the myriad proposals for new towns that characterise these urbanisation activities are rarely oriented toward those populations actually in need. Rather, exogenous models of settlement and infrastructure are being imported into wholly incongruous contexts with little regard for the realities of their destination. His expertise in housing is manifested in the publications of a+t’s "Density" series, which he coauthored. His passion for the city as the essential format capable for promoting the resolution of competing urban uses is reflected in the "Hybrids" and "Civilities" series, which he also co-authored. In addition, Javier’s ability to analyze urban landscapes and public spaces from an editorially distinct perspective is visible in the "In Common" series, "The Public Chance" volume and the "Strategy" series, all of which he co-authored.