John Peterson, AIA, Founder & President, is Public Architecture’s design director, chief spokesperson and strategist. He is also the principal of Peterson Architects. John is a recipient of numerous design and social innovation awards and writes and speaks internationally about the role that the design of the built environment has in improving underserved communities. John has a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. He serves on the board of Urban Solutions and the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, and is an adjunct professor at California College of the Arts.
Contact: john [at] publicarchitecture.org
Amy Ress, The 1% Program Manager, is responsible for managing the expansion of The 1% program, launching new initiatives and projects, and creating partnerships. Her recent projects include Lights on Market Street, an arts and culture urban revitalization initiative that realized three site-specific temporary light installations and produced a case study on the partners, process, and outcome. Amy is public programming chair on the board of the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery. Previously a design and research consultant for Hood Design and Culvahouse Consulting Group, she also worked in project management on the Better Streets Plan and the Great Streets Program at the SFDPW. Amy’s interest in the built environment solidified during her internship at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and the Venice Architecture Biennale where she studied distortion of architectural volume through photography. Returning to San Francisco she was the Architecture & Design Forum Coordinator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, supporting exhibitions, publications, and programs. Amy received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Jose State University and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.
Contact: amy [at] publicarchitecture.org
Brad Leibin, Designer & Project Manager, manages the research, design, and development of Public Architecture’s design initiatives and design consultancy work. Previously, he had been an architectural designer at Field Operations and Tina Manis Associates in New York. His interest in the capacity of design to affect positive social change spills over into his writing, which has been published in such journals as ArchitectureBoston, AIACC.org, Landscape Urbanism, and Unspoken Borders (a publication of Penn Design). Brad is also co-founder and co-editor of TraceSF, a new, online journal that explores Bay Area design, culture, and urbanism. In 2011, he was recipient of the Design Futures Council, Emerging Leaders Scholarship. Brad earned his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was awarded the Lewis E. Dales Travelling Fellowship as well as the Arthur Spayd Brook Memorial Prize for distinguished work in architectural design.
Contact: brad [at] publicarchitecture.org
Jennifer Lau, Development Manager, cultivates new and existing partnerships and manages new business opportunities at Public Architecture. Previously, Jen was the Development Coordinator at New Profit Inc., a venture philanthropy firm based in Cambridge, MA, that provides strategic and financial support to social entrepreneur-led organizations. At New Profit, Jen worked closely with the senior leadership team on organization-wide fundraising efforts, including all development and investor relations activities for New Profit’s Pathways Fund, a public-private partnership that leverages a multimillion dollar federal grant to help at-risk youth achieve educational success and attain living wage employment. Jen has also contributed to the development of annual reports, exhibitions, and other projects through prior roles at the MIT Museum, which oversees the university’s numerous collections, and New Sector Alliance, a nonprofit that leverages talented young adults to provide capacity-building support to local organizations while honing and developing their leadership skills. Jen has a B.A. in Architectural Studies from Tufts University and studied urban communities in New York and Paris through Columbia University GSAPP’s Shape of Two Cities program.
Contact: jennifer [at] publicarchitecture.org
Samantha Given-Dennis, Administrative Manager, received her Bachelor of Arts from Colby College, where she took an interdisciplinary course of study to analyze sociopolitical currents and economic development in Latin America; she wrote her thesis, “Breaking Clientelism,” on Argentine repertoires of social contention. Since graduating, Samantha has worked in startup and high profile environments to innovate the social sector. She interned on Kiva’s Customer Service team, where she grew her literacy in microfinance and gained experience working with new models of philanthropy. She then joined Sparkseed, where she ran an accelerator program that provides financial capital, business growth, and personal development services to student social entrepreneurs. She comes to Public Architecture with an interest in the intersection of design and the social sector; she is responsible for daily operations and project support.
Contact: samantha [at] publicarchitecture.org