Members in the News

Alberto Sanchez-Sanchez: COVID Stories: Restoring a 17th C. Manor in Spain

by Gretchen Kell, UC - Berkeley | Feb 12, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic has separated us, but sharing stories about how members of the campus community have been surviving — and even thriving — since last spring can help draw us together. Berkeley News is gathering inspiring personal tales of heartache and triumph related to the coronavirus and will run them periodically in the coming weeks. If you’d like to pitch us your story, send a brief email to

This is the fourth story in the series. It highlights Alberto Sanchez-Sanchez, a Ph.D. candidate in architecture at the College of Environmental Design.

My dad’s family has lived in the Spanish village of Used — pronounced “Ooo-sedth” in English — for generations, at least since the late 1700s. My mom’s family comes from the Basque Country and Andalusia. My parents met in Madrid in the 1970s, and it was love at first sight. Right after getting married, they decided to leave the city behind and move to the countryside, to my dad’s hometown — Used, province of Zaragoza — where they raised us all; I have three brothers. Two of my dad’s siblings also live in the town — my aunt Manolita and my uncle Aurelio.

I remember being interested in the built environment since I was a kid. Growing up in Used, I could see the effects of rural depopulation firsthand. I saw all these abandoned, derelict houses no one seemed to care about. Today, there are merely 250 people living in the town, a 90% decrease since 1950, and depopulation continues.

Read full story with photographs here

Alberto Sanchez-Sanchez joined SAH in 2017.  


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