As part of the Architecture and the City Festival, Resilient SF explored resiliency strategies meant to aid San Francisco’s ability to withstand future environmental and social challenges. Public Architecture and Shelter Media Project, with support from the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction, invited CMG Landscape Architecture, David Baker Architects, and Perkins + Will San Francisco to propose innovative solutions that focused on systemic and social opportunities rather than large infrastructural endeavors. At the September 18th event, the three firms presented their proposals. A stimulating panel discussion moderated by Public Architecture Founder and President, John Peterson, followed the conclusion of the presentations. Panelists included Degenkolb Engineers Chairman, Chris Poland, strategist, designer and current Gensler Fellow, Laura Weiss, and City of San Francisco Planning Director John Rahaim.
David Baker Architects explored harnessing the citywide water cistern system to play an expanded role as sites of community engagement and gathering during times of non-disaster as well as a locus for action in emergency situations. Though it continues to remain largely outside of public awareness, the cistern system is an historic infrastructure network that contains water for emergency use. David Baker Architects proposed transforming cistern spaces by adding bold graphics to convey pertinent general and location-specific emergency information. These cistern spaces would be turned into plazas with the goal of sparking curiosity, constantly disseminating information, and creating a well-distributed series of hubs for action in emergency situations. Through this proposal, David Baker Architects sought to build upon, strengthen, and make visible existing physical and civic infrastructure to bolster San Francisco’s robust social capacity both in ordinary times and during disasters.
Perkins + Will drew inspiration from hardened community health facilities such as hospitals and fire stations. In this case, the term “hardened” refers to a facility’s ability to withstand a severe event. Perkins + Will noted that disaster-induced interruptions to non-hardened community health organizations constituted a significant public health challenge. Consequently, they proposed that the City of San Francisco identify the highest priority, non-acute ambulatory care services and mandate that organizations providing these services occupy structures with sufficient seismic reinforcement to return to operation within 30 days of a severe event. Wanting to bridge that 30-day gap, Perkins + Will devised a prototype rapidly deployable health clinic (or “RDoC,” as they termed it). The RDoC would be used as a replacement venue for critical ambulatory health services to San Francisco’s neediest in the aftermath of a seismic or severe weather event. In the event of a disaster-induced interruption, community organizations would be able to relocate to RDoCs until their home facilities could reopen. Perkins + Will asserted that the RDoC would enhance community self-reliance and resiliency by providing community clinics a mechanism to continue to serve their patients in the immediate aftermath of a disaster.
CMG Landscape Architecture developed a proposal that sought to fortify Golden Gate Park by retrofitting the Polo Fields with sustainable infrastructural systems. These systems would not only improve the Park’s many events and festivals, but would also allow it to host disaster victims. CMG noted the tremendous overlap between logistical preparations for park festivals and effective responses to major disasters; the San Francisco Department of Emergency Management recommends citizens prepare for 72 hours without key infrastructural lifelines such as food, water, waste management, energy, and shelter – the same resources required for 3-day park festivals. The proposal focused on building upon Golden Gate Park’s Polo Fields with four key layers of infrastructure: water, waste management, energy and communication, and shelter and aid. As part of the proposal, the Polo Fields would be fitted with built-up edges housing public toilets. The waste by-products from the toilets could be treated and then used to fertilize the 200 acres of park turf. Through their proposed changes to Golden Gate Park, CMG hoped to reinforce the role of urban parks as both purposeful and beautiful. CMG also devised an annual preparedness event entitled Camp the Park during which city parks would open for an overnight resiliency festival. Camp the Park would commemorate the 1906 Earthquake and Fire while testing the city’s ability to mobilize and prepare for disaster response in a festive atmosphere.
After the presentations, the panelists sat down to discuss resiliency solutions and the power of incorporating behavioral change. Solutions, the panelists noted, must be habit-forming for the community and integrated into daily activities. By the time a disaster happens, the community would already be familiar with how to engage with the available resources. As Laura Weiss voiced, “people are the engine of resiliency.” Thus, by utilizing products or services to induce behavioral change, communities themselves could help ensure their own resiliency. “San Francisco is evolving into a sharing economy; these solutions could be an outgrowth of that evolution,” remarked John Rahaim. Indeed each of the proposals embraced the functional versatility inspired by that economic evolution. As mentioned during the conversation, discussions around recovery and preparedness are often challenging and fraught with bureaucracy. That the proposals were created with what Chris Poland described as “delight” added to their strength, allowing them to make difficult conversations more palatable. The panelists agreed that the schemes presented throughout the evening were all complementary; they could all move forward and work effectively together.
This design challenge, though the first of its kind, need not be the last of its kind. It can happen in any city as a way to engage the architecture community to be leaders in resiliency design thinking.
If we are to ensure there is a strong and flexible social fabric in preparation for the next significant earthquake or natural disaster, innovating for community resilience has never been more critical.
Public Architecture and Shelter Media Project have invited architects and allied experts to play a collaborative and proactive role in creating community-based resiliency strategies that are implementable, accessible and participatory.
The strategies will be presented during the esteemed Architecture and the City Festival in San Francisco, celebrating its 10th anniversary this September. With 20,000 attendees, and presented by the AIA San Francisco and the Center for Architecture + Design, the festival is the premiere architecture and design festival in the Bay Area and the largest of its kind in the nation.
Resilient SF explores the overlay of three related challenges: how the built environment supports our preparedness and response to earthquakes and natural disasters, the shifting nature of civic infrastructures, and the role of existing social infrastructures—all the while keeping in mind the city’s underserved communities.
The term “relief” is featured on the front pages of most daily news coverage of disasters, while “preparedness” often refers to packaged goods in the form of emergency kits or seismically strengthening buildings. In this challenge, designers are asked to conceive of preparedness solutions that respond to an expanded set of social, environmental, and economic criteria in a way that is inclusive of the needs and assets found in San Francisco’s vulnerable communities.
Public Architecture invited three San Francisco firms–CMG Landscape Architecture, David Baker Architects, and Perkins+Will San Francisco–recognized for their responsive community design work to participate in Resilient SF. These firms will propose innovative approaches that are actionable with limited resources and that could serve as models for other cities. The design teams will present their solutions in front of a large festival audience, followed by a panel discussion and audience Q & A. Short videos will be produced from the event highlighting the key elements of each presentation; these will become part of a public website focused on Resilient San Francisco’s efforts.
Resilient SF Design Challenge
Date: September 18
Location: Interface Showroom, 457 Pacific Ave.
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Teams present their Design Challenge proposals to the Festival participants, followed by a moderated panel discussion and audience Q&A.
RE-IMAGE San Francisco
RE_IMAGE San Francisco is a large-scale visual experience; a night-time projection event on an iconic building intended to visualize past and future natural disasters in San Francisco and citizen’s response to them: it utilizes photographs, found footage and sounds, info-graphics, and animations. The event will take place on multiple nights during the Festival at a site to be determined. The projected images are intended to provoke a re-thinking of the concept of resilience and the role of the built environment in helping protect and strengthen our community.
ResilientSF is made possible through the generous support of Holcim and The Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction. Connect with Holcim today to learn how to submit your innovative, socially responsible, and future-oriented projects to the 4th International Holcim Awards, and participate in a global community of more than 140 countries.
Public Architecture is pleased to release Hawaii Wildlife Center, the third in an on-going series of case studies that feature projects by the American Institute of Architects members participating in The 1% program who are making pro bono service an integral part of design practice. The Hawaii Wildlife Center, located on the Big Island, is dedicated to protecting, conserving, and aiding in the recovery of Hawaii’s native wildlife through hands-on treatment, research, training, science education and cultural programs. Boston based Ruhl Walker Architects designed HWC’s state-of-the-art care and rehabilitation facility for native animals. Read more
Public Architecture, in partnership with AIA San Francisco and Interface, is proud to inaugurate a national award recognizing exemplary projects that serve the public good. The Social Impact Design Award is a unique opportunity for architects and designers to share the impact of their work and to promote the significant relationship between quality design and social outcomes.
This national award is being run in conjunction with AIA San Francisco’s Constructed Realities awards program. Submissions will be accepted until July 18, 2013. For more information and to submit, click here. Read more
By Jennifer Lau
This weekend we had the pleasure of attending the thirteenth annual Structures For Inclusion conference at the University of Minnesota College of Design. This year’s theme—“Dignifying Design”—was a fitting conclusion to the first ever Public Interest Design Week (#PIDWeek) and featured presentations by some of the most inspirational leaders in the field today, including many friends, colleagues, and former Public Architecture staff. Read more
By Jennifer Lau
From February 27 to March 1, 2013 at the Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California, Public Architecture convened leaders from government, design, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropy at the second annual Design Access Summit. Design Access is an opportunity for leaders within the aforementioned sectors to acknowledge the profound impact of the design of the built environment on human and environmental health, economic prosperity, and social justice, as well as to advance our collective ability to leverage the design of the built environment as a tool for social gain. Read more
This month Interface and Universal Fibers teamed up to support Public Architecture’s 1% program and designers who want to do meaningful work at work. Thanks to supporters like you, we’re more than halfway to our goal of $20,000—and we still have a week to go!
Between now and February 25th, all you need to do is share, love, and retweet stories with the everyONE logo and/or hashtag (#IFeveryONE) to make the equivalent of a $2 donation to Public Architecture. With a simple click, you can help us show the world how everyONE in the design community can make a difference.
Check out the everyONE campaign images below for a dose of inspiration and the chance to help us expand pro bono design resources and opportunities. Whether one image stands out—or you love all six—simply click the images below to start sharing and help us reach our $20,000 goal!
The 2013 Call for Applications has been annouced by The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) for their Sustainable Cities Design Academy (SCDA).
SCDA connects project teams and multi-disciplinary sustainable design experts through highly interactive design workshops that help project teams advance their green infrastructure and community development goals.
Successful applicants will join AAF for one of two design workshops in Washington, DC:
June 5-7, 2013
September 11-13, 2013
To learn more and download the application, click here. Public-private partnership project teams are encouraged to apply.
To help support and advance good sustainable design practices, the American Architectural Foundation created the Sustainable Cities Design Academy (SCDA) in 2009. This initiative provides leadership development and technical assistance to local community leaders who are engaged in planning a sustainable building project in their community. Through SCDA, AAF seeks to educate, inspire, and support these local government, business, and community leaders and developers. SCDA also provides them with the resources and tools they need to develop long-term solutions for their communities.
This year Public Architecture turned ten years old. As we continue to quietly work through this milestone, I thought I would share with you why each day I am both gratified by what we have achieved and humbled by what remains to be done.
I founded Public Architecture in response to the desire of myself and others in my private practice to do, simply, meaningful work at work. We had a vision: empowering designers to not only conceive of solutions on behalf of clients but to identify and address challenges on behalf of larger communities. Yet we soon realized that, unlike the legal and medical professions, the design community then had yet to establish industry-wide practices like pro bono to serve and impact those most in need. In what sometimes seems like a moment of naïve enthusiasm, we created Public Architecture and programs like The 1% in an attempt to address this unmet opportunity, and here we are today.
Of course, to summarize the previous decade in a few sentences would be to understate the efforts of the many staff, volunteers, and Board members whose talents and hard work have been critical to our success. Through their efforts and the commitment of likeminded designers, it is difficult to deny that our original vision—a world where designers could serve the public good through sustainable, scalable practices—is well underway.
Today, The 1% includes more than 1100 firms who have committed at least 1% of their billable hours to pro bono design services; more than 15,000 designers now provide a combined $42 million dollars’ worth of design services each year. Both the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) are partnering with The 1% to encourage their members to be a part of this transformation.
I sometimes describe Public Architecture as a hundred year organization; in reality, longevity only hints at the scope of what we seek to achieve. We know that the questions we need to answer will change and evolve over time as this practice continues to take hold. Already, we have begun to move from “How can we get firms and designers to make pro bono a part of their practice?” to “How can we help firms and designers be more effective change agents in underserved communities?” Yet the basic principles of our work remain the same. Quality, scale, accessibility, sustainability—these values are core to what we do and to our vision for all communities across the nation.
If you have helped Public Architecture to be a better organization in the past ten years, thank you. If you are helping us to be a better organization now or in the future, thank you.
Consider supporting us through one or more of the following:
Make a donation
Public Architecture has learned to do a lot with a little, but imagine what we could do with even a small increase in funding. For every $1 donated, Public Architecture can leverage $60 of pro bono design services in communities across the country. Click here to make a donation.
For every person that visits their booth in the Exhibit Hall at Greenbuild, Shaw Contract Group will donate a dollar to one of three select nonprofits of the visitor’s choice. We are so excited that Shaw has chosen us to be one of the beneficiaries of this generous Greenbuild campaign.
If you are going to Greenbuild, head over to Shaw on the expo floor and select Public Architecture as your nonprofit of choice!
Greenbuild will be held from November 14-16, 2012 in San Francisco. For further information about the event, visit www.greenbuildexpo.org.
Design Corps and the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Network, in conjunction with the University of Minnesota College of Design, announce the Call for Entries in the 2013 SEED Awards for Excellence in Public Interest Design competition. Recognizing excellence in social, economic and environmental design, the SEED Awards represent the confluence of forces needed to create truly sustainable projects and change in the world. Read more
Eight students representing a diverse group of future leaders in the public interest design movement convened in San Francisco June 27- July 6 for the Public Interest Design Externship, a summer program of The University of Texas at Austin and co-led by Public Architecture. The externship was designed to place graduate students in San Francisco-based architecture and design firms to study a handful of local built projects. Public Architecture selected the projects based on their innovation, high level of social impact, and broad definition of sustainability, evidenced by effective design strategies, unique funding streams, community engagement, and other elements that led to community impact. The following list shows the participating design firms, the selected project, and the assigned externs:
Perkins+Will-San Francisco, San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Heydn Ericson & David Sharratt
Envelope A+D, Proxy
Alex Krippner & Colleen McGinnis
CMG Landscape Architecture, Mint Plaza
McCall Design Group, Sunset Cooperative Nursery
Public Architecture, Survey of Parklets
Katie Mays & Gilad Meron
In particular, the students’ research is focusing on the balance of the design intentions compared to the end users receptions of those intentions. Now in the final two weeks of the program, the externs have returned to Austin to distill their research into project case studies that will fill a professional report, which Public Architecture will make available later this summer.