07.03.14 Field Notes

This summer, we were fortunate to bring three incredibly talented and passionate Summer Associates on board.  Join us in welcoming the newest additions to the Public Architecture team!

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06.27.14 Field Notes

Public Architecture is honored to contribute to the AIA Foundation’s National Resilience Program in collaboration with Architecture for Humanity. We strongly believe that architects, designers and allied experts have a collaborative and proactive role to play in creating community-based resiliency strategies. Public Architecture comes to this alliance prepared to leverage The 1% network of more than 15,000 designers nationwide, to strengthen community resiliency through their firm’s 1% pro bono design service pledge.

On Thursday, June 26, 2014, the AIA Foundation issued the following press release in celebration of this new initiative:

The AIA Foundation (AIAF), a nonprofit philanthropic extension of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), today announced the site of AIAF’s first Regional Resilience Design Studio, funded with an initial $250,000 social impact investment by Benjamin Moore & Co.


Courtesy of Architecture For Humanity

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06.23.14 Events

Public Architecture once again invites the architecture community to join us and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as we partner to make pro bono service an integral part of practice at the AIA National Convention in Chicago, IL on June 26-28.  Please join us at these planned activities.  We hope to see you there.

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06.18.14 Resources


In support of the ever-growing pro bono movement, we have partnered with Catchafire to share each other’s most relevant published resources and features with our respective communities.  As a Bay Area Founding Member of Catchafire, we’re pleased to present the first of an ongoing series of Catchafire guest blog posts.

In January, 2013 Catchafire along with Co.Exist put together a list of some of the most generous designers here.  We have republished this list below so that we may share it with our community as part of our growing partnership with Catchafire. Not all of these designers work with built environment, yet they all belong to the growing movement of value-forward design. Read more

06.02.14 Resources

Public Architecture is pleased to release Youth Center On Highland, the sixth in our on-going case study series highlighting participants of The 1% program and the first to feature the significant contribution of members of the International Interior Design Association who are making pro bono service an integral part of design practice. Read more

05.27.14 Events

Public Architecture is delighted to showcase highlights from Design Access 2014 in a new video, available below and on Vimeo. Whether you were unable to join us in person or you’re simply interested in learning more about Design Access and our efforts in South Texas, don’t miss this peek into our signature event.

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05.14.14 Resources

In 2011, we published our Sustainability Guide for Nonprofits, a resource introducing the benefits of green design to the operations and facilities of nonprofit organizations.  Read more

05.09.14 Resources

Public Architecture is excited to announce new updates from our partnership with A Billion + Change.  In a recent letter, Amy Ress, Director of The 1% program, shared ways for the nearly 1,300 firms in The 1% to make the most of this collaboration.  A Billion + Change is already helping to share the value of design with their network; their latest newsletter featured highlights from our 2010 publication, The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories about Design for the Public Good by Architects and Their Clients. Now, A Billion + Change is offering firms in The 1% the opportunity to include their logos as official Pledge Companies.  Read on for the full letter and for more information on how to take advantage of this great opportunity.

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05.02.14 Resources

Public Architecture is pleased to release Ecole Nationale Jacob Martin Henriquez, the fifth in our on-going case study series highlighting participants of The 1% program and the first to feature the significant contribution of members of The American Society of Interior Designers who are making pro bono service an integral part of design practice.

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04.25.14 Field Notes

After winning highest honors in Public Architecture’s inaugural Social Impact Design Awards, Jeffrey Stuhr, AIA, of Holst Architecture was invited to join a select group of designers for a whirlwind tour of Europe, courtesy of longtime friends and sponsors Interface. Jeffrey was kind enough to share some highlights with us upon his return.

At the Bonnazzi Villa (courtesy Jeffrey Stuhr / Holst Architecture)

Q: You were invited to Milan as a result of winning the Honor Award for Bud Clark Commons from the Social Impact Design Awards, hosted by Public Architecture and AIA San Francisco. Who else was part of the group?

Interface and Aquafil were both the hosts of the trip [Aquafil is a material supplier for Interface’s carpets]. I was the only one there as a result of winning the award; the other 30 guests were clients and designers from top firms across the US–HOK, Gensler, BNIM, Arquitectonica. There was also a delegation from Brazil, and a few from England and Canada.

Q: You traveled to multiple cities—where did you go?

We went first to Milan for the Salone del Mobile. We spent a full day there. We then went to a town named Arco near Lago di Garda, where Aquafil’s headquarters are. We toured their office and plant. After that, Verona—the Bonazzi family hosted a big dinner for us at their villa. We had the best food and wine throughout the whole trip.

From Verona, we went to to Ljubljana, Slovenia. It’s a beautiful town. Aquafil does fishing net reclamation from there, which they then recycle [to make the fibers they produce for carpet]. We visited the factory where they break the material down. We ended our trip in Venice, and a number of us stayed on a few days there.

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04.16.14 Field Notes

This is the second part in a two-part series relating Amy Ress’ interview with Katherine Darnstadt.  For Part 1, click here.

Rendering of Demoiselle 2 Femme's Hope Center for Girls (Image Credit: Latent Design)

Amy: How do you find and select your pro bono clients?  How do you assess nonprofits’ goals?  What tools or processes have you used?

Katherine: We have developed a suite of questions to explore the project and its envisioned benefits.  First, we research the organization.  What is their mission?  Who are their funders?  What are their goals?  We come at it from a funder’s viewpoint by asking, “If you need us to help develop a program for a storefront arts space, what will this do, how will this increase your capacity, and how will you be able to respond to this increased capacity?”  We look at their overall vision for the project, and ask organizational questions like, “how will they support the ongoing program?”  Sometimes those questions come from the typical service provider relationship.  We look at opportunities to frame the project in an expanded context.  To develop a more comprehensive design solution, we explore existing city or funder initiatives.  For example, right now in Chicago there is a big push towards STEM and arts curriculum.  We ask the client, “How can this fit into citywide, community-wide, and organization-wide goals?” to help them make a better case for the project with funders and other partners in the capital campaign. Read more

04.09.14 Field Notes

This is the first part in a two-part series relating Amy Ress’ interview with Katherine Darnstadt.

We thought it valuable to sit down with the founder of Latent Design, one of the most active and impactful firms in The 1%.  Katherine Darnstadt received the 2013 AIA Young Architects Award, was a Social Impact Design Award Special Recognition recipient, was named one of the 2014 GOOD 100 global citizens, and most recently was a featured speaker at TEDxIIT.  We were interested in sharing how, as the leader of a small firm, Katherine has integrated pro bono into a sustainable business model.

Photo Credit: Katherine Darnstadt

Amy: Why does your firm participate in Public Architecture’s 1% program?

Katherine: We joined The 1% in 2010, right when I started Latent Design.  At that time, I was looking at any avenue to broaden and spread the message of the firm.  We saw an alignment of our goals and beliefs within the mission of The 1%.  We could use the platform to showcase Latent Design’s belief that design could be a tool for social impact.  The program provided an opportunity to network and work with community development and nonprofit organizations, and to work on socially impactful projects.  The 1% became a way to test different business strategies: how to facilitate this work through relationships that are more common between nonprofits, but not as visible between private firms and nonprofits.  We tried to figure out why such differences exist.  Participating in The 1% allowed us to try different strategies and fold them into our practice. Read more