Headshot of Rafa Selman

Rafa Selman obtained his Bachelor in Architecture degree from UNIVERSIDAD NACIONAL PEDRO HENRIQUEZ URENA (UNPHU) in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in 1991 and then a Masters in Architecture degree from TULANE UNIVERSITY in New Orleans, LA, United States of America in 1992.

Son of the retired founder of the firm, Rafa has led Selman Arquitectos since 1992 as Principal / Managing Architect.  His works have been widely published and have received many accolades and awards.  As leader of the firm he has been involved in projects of all sorts and sizes, ranging from large Architectural projects in hospitality, commercial, residential and renovations, to Master Planning, Interior and Urban Design.  With a clear vision, Rafa has the particular ability of understanding the client’s need and translating them into exceptional design solutions. 

Rafa Selman

You have taken programs with us on real estate financehotels, and now walkable cities over the years. Why do you keep returning?

In my day-to-day as an architect, I take on many different roles. In my own firm, serving clients who are hotel and/or real estate developers, running a real estate development and asset management family office, and also presiding a non-profit organization (TRAZADO), which is an urban planning think tank with the purpose of proposing and making necessary links between private and public players in urban projects that make our cities in my home country, the Dominican Republic, more human oriented.

Every course I have taken at HGSD has been at a pivotal point in one of these roles and I’ve found that taking them has given me a clearer overview of the different angles of the business, provided me with insights to stay current and relevant, as well as giving me a competitive advantage in all my different roles. HGSD Executive Education has been a wonderful learning experience, as well as a great opportunity to expand my professional network and connect with industry experts and peers. My hope is to complete the Advanced Management Development Program in Real Estate, which I plan to do in a very near future.

You had signed up for The Walkable City in 2020 before it was cancelled due to the pandemic. Why did you decide to attend this year?

My plans to attend in 2020 were interrupted by the Covid pandemic, but I always kept the interest in the program. This year also happened to be perfect timing as the course materials aligned with some of the things we are currently working on for TRAZADO, the non-profit I previously mentioned.

Walkable City is one of the most-read books among urbanists. Please discuss how taking The Walkable City program impacted your understanding of the key concepts presented in the book.

I have read Jeff’s wonderful book, as well as seen his TED Talks, but having the opportunity to hear and discuss the concepts with him directly gave me a much clearer understanding. The field trip and the charrette exercise we did on the 2nd day provided a collaborative and dynamic experience and an opportunity to appreciate examples of developed projects and their impact on community firsthand. It also gave me a much better understanding of the practical approach in making a city more walkable.