Maria Sandra Aguilar, is indio-hispana, born and raised in Northern New Mexico. She grew up with her extended family of elders, parents and 5 siblings and was naturally steeped in an inclusionary culture that directly shaped and impacted her concepts of home, space and community.
As a young adult Sandra attended the University of New Mexico and Northwest Missouri State College as an art student and athlete. An inclination to sculpture, math and sciences and an interest in the built environment led her to pursue architecture. She earned a Masters degree from the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley where she was awarded the honor of class spokesperson.
Her interest in community development issues was inspired by community activist work. She worked with the San Francisco Feminist Education Foundation, the Mission District Consortium and community food coops. Her education at Berkeley was the vehicle to pursue her interest in architecture, specifically residential architecture.
Following several years as part of a team at a highly respected San Francisco firm, and working collaboratively with an international team in Italy, Sandra returned to New Mexico, and settled in Santa Fe.
She maintained a private practice through 2002 working with clients from a variety of backgrounds and economic means to design beautiful, functional, sensitively sited residential structures. In 2003 she accepted an appointment as the City of Santa Fe’s Planning and Land Use Director, a position she held for a few years. She returned to private practice in 2006 and retired from that aspect of her life in 2016.