Fernando Pastor is an architect who has lived in New Haven for 25 years. For him, the best thing about this community is its inclusiveness and diversity. “I came here from Argentina 25 years ago. This is a small town that has a lot of people from all over the world. You can have a lot of cultural events and venues around. It is a really nice place to be,” Fernando said.
As an architect, Fernando’s work covers a variety of projects. “I do a lot of repurposing of buildings in Connecticut,” Fernando said. He converted an abandoned church on State Street into housing and renovated several mansions on Prospect Street, which are now luxury apartments.
He is working on a former West Haven school (the former Thompson School building) and aims to convert the building into housing. Fernando takes commercial work as well. For instance, he worked with Pokémoto and many other restaurants and cafes. “When I work on those projects, I try to reclaim stuff from other places,” Fernando said. This week, he will visit a mansion under demolition in Greenwich to obtain some materials.
Around 10 years ago, Fernando participated in the Neighborhood Housing Services of New Haven’s (NHS) Resident Leadership Program. Since then, he has helped with many of NHS’s community-building projects that aim to make the community more eco-friendly and sustainable.
Fernando led NHS through the design and building of the Ivy Street Community Greenhouse. He also designed the Stevens Street Garden fence from reclaimed rafters taken from a garage removed from an NHS house. “He has done many wonderful projects in New Haven and is very community and environmentally sustainable-minded, “said Stephen Cremin-Endes, Director of Community Building & Organizing, who has been working with Fernando on many community projects.
“I have the beautiful joys of what we can do,” Fernando said. He brought ideas and manpower to support community projects of NHS. The most meaningful project for Fernando was the building of the Stevens Street Garden fence 11 years ago. “I made some sketches for the design and supervised the work. It was a couple-of-days project, but they (fence materials) can stay in the community for a long time. The reclaimed materials we used are 100-year-old. They are the 100-year-old friends to this community.”
When Fernando heard about the Rock to Rock Earth Day Ride event, and that NHS is participating this year, he decided to donate to NHS Home Team and support the idea of contributing to the local environment.
“If I contribute something, I contribute to organizations that I know very well,” Fernando said. “I hope to support the eco-friendly projects that NHS has, anything that is looking into the future, and building sustainable architecture … that is going to keep the world safe and sound.”