As the economy continues to recover slowly, architects and designers are increasingly putting their skills to work for the public good, according to a survey of nearly 1000 firms by Public Architecture in collaboration with researchers from Harvard Business School.
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.
The American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and Public Architecture have partnered to support pro bono service for nonprofits seeking interior design expertise.
Through the new relationship, ASID and Public Architecture will encourage ASID members to pledge to The 1%, a nationwide program of Public Architecture that challenges architecture and design firms to commit a minimum of 1% of their time to pro bono service and facilitates a matching service to connect firms with nonprofits seeking pro bono design services. Read more
Missed Greenbuild but still looking for an easy way to support Public Architecture? Shaw Contract Group is continuing their Fight the Good Fight program online! Simply visit Shaw’s website to enter your name and email and to select Public Architecture as your nonprofit recipient, and Shaw will take care of the rest.
Through Fight the Good Fight, Shaw is continuing its longstanding commitment to social responsibility by donating one dollar per entry to one of three nonprofit organizations of your choice. We’re honored to continue working with Shaw, who has been a generous supporter of our Design Access Summit and a valued partner in The 1% Collection.
Don’t miss Architecture for Humanity’s Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! forum on community design and development on November 12-13, 2012 in San Francisco.
The two-day event includes innovative panel discussions, small-group workshops and a ‘Design Open Mic’. Design experts and enthusiasts, industry leaders across disciplines and more gather to address the collective challenges and lessons learned in humanitarian design and community development. AIA members can quality for eight learning unit hours.
Register today, we’ll be there!
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.
Public Architecture is pleased to publish Hayes Valley Playground and Clubhouse, the first of 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 Hayes Valley Playground and Clubhouse is a community project in San Francisco designed by WRNS Studio in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.
As a strategic alliance, Public Architecture is one of several organizations supporting the architectural profession that the AIA confers with to obtain and share information to assist members. Find more information on The 1% program and the AIA partnership.
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/.
By Amy Ress
Change can occur by force or by need, but to have the greatest probability of impact, change must happen through leadership. On September 12-14, 2012, the first-ever Pro Bono Leaders Summit convened the vanguard of architecture and design firms creating industry change at the Sundance Resort in Utah.
Public Architecture and Interface, the world’s largest design and maker of carpet tile, assembled a core group of pro bono leaders in architecture and design, law and corporate philanthropy to begin a conversation focused on advancing the design profession’s intelligence and effectiveness in the social impact area. The Summit was represented by a diverse cross section of the largest, most influential firms and emergent small offices. These included:
American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
Bernheimer Architecture, LLC
Interface Studio Architects
McCall Design Group
Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe
Perkins + Will
The Miller Hull Partnership, LLC
Vincent James & Associates
WRNS Studio Read more
Please join us for an evening in celebration of community based design! On October 17, 2012, Cannon Design’s Open Hand Studio will partner with Public Architecture to host its second Meet and Match event at Intersection for the Arts in San Francisco.
Meet and Match is an opportunity for Bay Area designers and not-for-profit, community-based organizations to meet face-to-face and match design needs with design services. Through public interest design projects, designers and community members work together to transform their communities and occasionally even redefine the traditional designer/client relationship. At Meet and Match, you’ll have the opportunity to hear from Douglas Burnham of envelope A+D, designer of the proxy project in Hayes Valley; Paul Woolford of HOK, the firm behind San Francisco’s Mid-Market Revitalization team; and Beth Rubenstein of Out of Site, the nonprofit behind a community-designed parklet in Excelsior, about how their innovative and collaborative projects have transformed their communities.
Wed, October 17, 6-9 pm
6:30pm Welcome and presentations
7:15pm Meet and Match networking session
Intersection for the Arts
5M Building, 925 Mission St #109
To register, please visit http://meetandmatch-sf.eventbrite.com. Tickets are complimentary, space is limited, and our ability to learn about attendees prior to the event will help us identify potential matches in advance. We look forward to seeing you there!
Interface, in partnership with Public Architecture, is presenting a 2-day workshop beginning tonight in Sundance, Utah that brings together a focused group of design leaders to share and explore the current state of pro bono design services and the growing opportunity for design professionals to engage the social sector’s $1.8 trillion economy.
Inspired by a diverse lineup of experts—from law and social services to corporate social responsibility, biomimicry and public interest design—the goal of the Pro Bono Leaders Summit is to use strengths-based learning principles to build a core group of change agents that can act as catalysts for the larger design profession.
We’d like to thank Interface for producing this event and we’re excited to inform you of the outcomes!
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