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
The Public Interest Design Program at the University of Texas at Austin (UTPID) is a summer program that is supported by the Center for Sustainable Development within the School of Architecture. The primary aim of the Public Interest Design Program is to connect students from a myriad of disciplines interested in the relationship between public service and the built environment to projects that address real community needs. Through rigorous exploration of how each of these terms affects design, UTPID challenges students to develop theoretical and practical skills to respond to the ethical complications of engaging the public and its spaces.
The 2013 PID program offers three separate elements: a five-day student leadership summit held at the beginning of the summer, and two summer course options. Students interested in summer coursework can earn credit through a ten-week design/build practicum or a student research seminar measuring the social impacts of public interest design projects. The summit is not a prerequisite to the coursework.
Public Architecture will again be hosting students for the externship part of the research seminar summer coursework option. Student will spend 5 weeks learning the analytic techniques of post-occupancy analysis and then spend a second 5 week period collecting and interpreting data related to selected projects based out of our office in San Francisco. Students will author a report that adopts the SEED Network metric as a process and outcome evaluation tool, measures the degree to which there is a gap between intention and reception, and contributes new data to a growing body of empirical knowledge about the built world.
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.
Public Architecture, with team co-lead CMG Landscape Architecture, submitted its proposal for the revitalization of Waller Creek in Austin, Texas. The final step will be a public presentation of our design at City Hall on October 3rd. The winning team will be announced October 18th. To view the PA+CMG team’s proposal, as well as those of the other three finalist teams, visit: http://www.wallercreek.org/finalfour/.
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.
By Alex Spautz
As a California native, recent graduate from the M.Arch program at California College of the Arts and intern at Public Architecture, I am interested in how public space, particularly streets, can provide a social, environmental and ideological framework for daily urban life. What are the ingredients necessary for innovation and success in street design? How do we communicate design ideas to the public? Street design improvement efforts in cities across the nation have become increasingly popular, whereby design firms, community and private organizations, and city agencies are attempting to address issues, from stormwater management to pedestrian safety. One way of implementing these strategies is through design manuals and plans such as the San Francisco “Better Streets Plan” and the Los Angeles “Model Design Manual for Living Streets”. The other way is through temporary improvements such as parklets, bike corrals, and pavement to parks projects. The goals and values of both strategies are very similar, but have different processes and results. With these two options—top down and bottom up—designers are often asked to employ one strategy or the other, which begs the question: how effective are these different processes and how can they be more successful? Read more
By Brad Leibin
With good friends and project co-lead CMG Landscape Architecture, Public was delighted to receive word earlier this week that our team has advanced to the third and final stage of the ‘Design Waller Creek’ competition in Austin, Texas. We will now be competing against the three other finalist teams: Michael Van Valkenberg Associates, Inc. and Thomas Phifer & Partners; Turenscape and Lake|Flato, Architects; as well as Workshop: Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, and Rogers Marvel Architects. Read more
Public Architecture’s Design Access Summit brought together government, design, nonprofit and funding professionals to better leverage the design of the built environment as a tool for social gain. Leaders in health care, education, affordable housing, transportation, community engagement, environmental sustainability, and the arts worked to collectively provide design services at scale to our most underserved and challenging problems.
Attendees represented an annual $10 million in pro bono design services, $1 billion in grants funded annually, and hundreds of millions of people served annually. Over the course of the summit, they discussed the impact of the built environment on our lives and our planet, new approaches and barriers to using design as a tool for social gain, strategies for working within resource constrained environments, service delivery innovation, and impact measurement.
Edited by Samantha Given-Dennis
Tobias Armborst, Daniel D’Oca, and Georgeen Theodore of Interboro Partners are pioneers working at the frontier of the architecture and urban design professions. Their firm embodies the expansion of architecture beyond its traditional boundaries and offers a model for designers to incorporate unfamiliar, underserved populations into their practice. They recently joined The 1% as the 1000th firm participant.
Public. What does Interboro do?
Dan. ‘We work at a port of entry for architectural possibility where the capacity for change rests in architecture’s ability to account for what exists, to recognize the limitations of a site and recast those limitations as an opportunity for intervention.’ Someone wrote that about us once. I think it’s a nice description of what we do. Read more