10.16.13 Resources

Public Architecture, in collaboration with our partners at the Harvard Business School has launched the fourth 1% Nonprofit Survey.

Our most comprehensive survey to date will provide unique insight into the nonprofit experience in The 1% program as well as the design process. The survey is an important tool for growth and improvement of The 1% program, in particular The 1% matching process that facilitates connecting nonprofits with designers who have made a pledge to provide pro bono service for underserved communities.

We encourage all nonprofits participating in The 1% program to complete the survey, regardless of the status of your project or the matching process.

The survey consists of five parts and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Progress can be saved for up to one week using the bookmarking functionality. Results for the survey will be published after its closing. Look for them in early 2014.

The survey is accessible here.

Or copy and paste the link below into your browser:


As an incentive our friends at Humanscale are generously donating the high-performing and very ergonomic Diffrient Smart Chair to be awarded to one randomly selected respondent at the survey close.

10.09.13 Events

By Ezra Mauer

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.

Read more

10.02.13 Field Notes

The Special Interest Design Award was presented by Public Architecture in partnership with AIA San Francisco with support from Interface. The two Special Recognition awardees are being spotlighted today. In addition to these two firms, there were Honor, Merit, and Citation designations award by the jury.

Architecture for Humanity Chicago‘s Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market was a Special Recognition recipient. The project was completed in 2011 with a budget of $30,000, but has continued to expand since then.

Fresh Moves Mobile Market is a one-aisle, 400 square foot, grocery store built in a retrofitted Chicago Transit Authority bus purchased for $1. Fresh Moves is a replicable platform for restoring access to nutritious food, health education, and local jobs to over 500,000 Chicago residents living in food deserts.

“The model is just that simple. The racks are stocked with healthy fruits and vegetables and people load in from the front and exit out the back of the bus.” – SIDA Juror, Tim Culvahouse, FAIA, AIA California Council, Culvahouse Consulting

Firm Foundation, a project by Solo Kota Kita is also honored as a SIDA Special Recognition recipient. The project was located in Banjarmasin, Kalimantan, Indonesia with a total budget of $35,000. $12,500 of the budget was dedicated to construction and the project was built in 2013.

Firm Foundation aims to reduce environmental vulnerability in riverfront settlements in Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Through a participatory campaign, residents cooperated with the team to design a new waterfront public space. The project positions Banjarmasin’s rivers as an asset for sustainable development and is a catalyst for future investments in basic services.

“The project has special recognition for its holistic approach to process and contribution to planning, and with its potential to influence policy for other dense urban waterfront environments that are impacted by health and environmental issues.” – SIDA Juror, Katie Gerfen, Architect Magazine

The upcoming AIA Twitter Chat is dedicated to the topic of social impact design. Present will be Public Architecture, Social Impact Design Award winner Wheeler Kearns, The American Institute of Architects, and more. The chat will be October 2, from 2:00-3:30 EST.

09.30.13 Field Notes

Today’s article delves into the Citation recipients of the Social Impact Design Award. This award was presented by Public Architecture in partnership with AIA San Francisco and with support from Interface. More information about the award, the jury, and other recipients is available here.

The jury selected Daly Genik‘s 33, 225 square foot Broadway Housing project to receive the Citation award. Built in Santa Monica, CA, the project was completed in November of 2012 with a budget of $10.9 million.

Broadway Housing clusters economical, repeatable housing blocks around the canopy of an existing shade tree. The objective of the project is to provide low income families with affordable housing that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.

“Creative use of materials and the project’s contemporary design elements contribute to an experience that is typically reserved for residents of high end housing.” – SIDA Juror Michael Murphy, Mass Design Group

BAR Architect‘s project the Haiti Partners’ Children’s Academy was the second recipient of the Citation award. Children’s Academy was built in Baocia, 3 miles outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The entire campus is expected to be 38, 000 square feet and be complete in 2023. $5 million is the expected budget.

In a remote hilly region southeast of Haiti’s capital, a new self-sustaining pre K – 13 school is transforming the village of Boacia. The Children’s Academy opened its first classroom building in September 2012. With its new prototype for education, ongoing community engagement and the promise of economic sustainability, the school has brought new hope to this under-served community.“This first classroom building is a model to be added over time, and has an opportunity to connect the lives of their students and families as well as the life of the town. The ironwork design is nice and transcends the aesthetic experience of the classroom. It creates a memorable environment that will stand out to the Haitian students.” – SIDA Juror Marsha Maytum, FAIA LEED AP, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

Have questions or thoughts on social impact design? Join Public Architecture, Social Impact Design Award winner Wheeler Kearns Architects, and The American Institute of Architects for an AIA Twitter Chat on October 2, from 2:00-3:30 EST.

09.26.13 Field Notes

Public Architecture in partnership with AIA San Francisco and with support from Interface presented the Social Impact Design Award. In addition to the two Honor Award winners there were two Merit Award recipients. Today we are highlighting these projects. In the coming days we will also introduce our Citation and Special Recognition winners.

The Social Impact Design Award jury recognized Architecture for Humanity with a Merit distinction for the 1,938 square foot Manica Football for Hope Center built in 2013. The center was built in Bairro Vumba (Vumba neighborhood), Manica, Mozambique on a budget of $197,416 USD.  The Manica Football for Hope Center unites its 5,000 resident community around a building made from the land and inspired by the culture. In post-civil war Mozambique, the center creates a safe, happy place to learn and play, while creating new building industries and investing in Manica’s long-term resiliency.

“The Manica Football for Hope Center is a well-design facility that has made a significant impact in the lives of its community by offering programs that marry a tried and true model of sports, social impact, and environmental stewardship.” – SIDA Juror Katie Gerfen, Architect Magazine

RdlR Architects was recognized also recognized with Merit distinction for the 308,000 square foot Houston Food Bank in Texas. The food bank had a budget of $22 million and opened in September, 2011.

To meet the growing issue of hunger and expand its distribution capacity three-fold, the Houston Food Bank renovated and expanded a neglected 30 year old warehouse. The resulting facility serves as the nation’s largest capacity Feeding America food bank and a symbol of hope throughout the community.

“The Houston Food Bank represents an interesting mash-up of a food pantry, distribution center, and social services. For such a large facility and with limited resources, the project has a nice mix of uses and defined environments that hold together well.” – John Peterson, Public Architecture Founder and President

For a more in depth conversation about social impact design, join our AIA Twitter Chat, October 2 from 2:00-3:30 EST. This is a great opportunity to converse with The American Institute of Architects, Social Impact Design Award Winners Wheeler Kearns Architects, and more.

09.12.13 Field Notes

This is the first post in a series highlighting the eight firms recognized by the Social Impact Design Award.

Public Architecture, in partnership with AIA San Francisco and with support from Interface, announced the winners of the Social Impact Design Award (SIDA). Two firms won the top Honor Award – Portland, OR-based Holst Architecture for the Bud Clark Commons project and Chicago-based Wheeler Kearns Architects for Inspiration Kitchens Garfield Park.

In its inaugural year, the Social Impact Design Award aims to recognize national architectural projects that serve the public good. The criteria for the award includes addressing one or more categories, including economic disparity, education iniquity, community engagement, health outcomes, human rights, and design excellence.

The juried prize yielded forty one eligible submissions, across a wide variety of project types, from low-cost structures in rural and developing regions to large scale commercial projects in metropolitan centers. Public Architecture Founder and President, John Peterson, was delighted by the turnout:

“As a profession we have a long way to go until we are articulate about the social impact of our work, but the design submissions and the dialog of the jurors are a wonderful start. We expect an expansive future for this award along with a larger conversation about the effective role of the design of the built environment on the quality of our lives.”

Jurors for the SIDA included:

Tim Culvahouse, FAIA / AIA California Council; Culvahouse Consulting
Katie Gerfen / Architect Magazine
Marsha Maytum, FAIA LEED AP / Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects
Michael Murphy / MASS Design Group

About the Winners

As a centerpiece of Portland’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, Bud Clark Commons sets a new standard by combining permanent supportive housing and temporary shelter with a community resource center. The $29 million project balances rigorous programmatic requirements, a progressive design approach, and LEED Platinum certified sustainable building practices.

“The comprehensive social programs are integral to the design experience of the Bud Clark Commons. The architects have taken a very complex problem combining transitional housing, permanent supportive housing and drop in services and created a dynamic design solution that has made a positive impact on thousands of lives and sets a new standard for design excellence.” – SIDA Juror Marsha Maytum, FAIA LEED AP, Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects

In Chicago, the Inspiration Kitchens Garfield Park project involved the renovation and adaptive reuse of a 1906 single story building and the improvement of three vacant lots in the City’s East Garfield Park neighborhood.  This 7,300 sq. ft. facility has an eighty seat restaurant that serves subsidized meals to working poor families and market rate meals to the general public; a combination service, catering and training kitchen from which a thirteen week food service training program is conducted; a meeting room/classroom and administrative/social service offices which support Inspiration Corporation’s community outreach programs and provides individualized case management services to past and current students.

“An extraordinary facility, Inspiration Kitchens Garfield Park has a graceful design that is both elegant and full of dignity.” – SIDA Juror Michael Murphy, MASS Design Group

A representative from each of the two top Honor award winners will be invited to join Interface and a group of 30 international designers at the 2014 Salone del Mobile for a week of design immersion, inspired thinking, sustainable manufacturing, and fun. All travel, accommodations, and activities are courtesy of Interface.

“The Social Impact Design Award celebrates social sustainability through the design of the built environment, and it is natural that we would embrace this kind of holistic design thinking as an important standard for contemporary architecture and interior design.  We are proud to join Public Architecture and AIA San Francisco in sponsoring this program.” – Jennifer Busch, Vice President A&D Market Development, Interface

In addition to the honor award recipients, the jury recognized the following projects:

Architecture for HumanityManica Football for Hope Center, Manica Town, Mozambique
RdlR Architects / Houston Food Bank, Houston, TX

Daly Genik / Broadway Housing, New York, NY
BAR Architects / Haiti Partners’ Children’s Academy, Ouest, Haiti

Special Recognition
Architecture for Humanity Chicago / Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market, Chicago, IL
Solo Kota Kita / Firm Foundation, Banjarmasin, Indonesia


08.29.13 Events

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.

Read more

08.20.13 Field Notes


The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) proudly announces its partnership with Public Architecture in support of its pro bono design program, The 1%. The goal of The 1% is to secure the commitment of Designers of the built environment to donate a minimum of one percent of billable hours each year to pro bono work on behalf of the nonprofit community. As part of its own mission to elevate the Design profession and advance Design, IIDA encourages its Members to participate in The 1% program for the enrichment of their communities and around the world.

“With great enthusiasm, IIDA embraces the intent of Public Architecture’s program, The 1%,” IIDA Executive Vice President and CEO Cheryl S. Durst, Hon. FIIDA, LEED AP, said. “For IIDA Members, commitment to The 1% represents a chance to serve the public good and raise the profile of Design while building opportunities for themselves. As a nonprofit representative, I consider it an incredible privilege to offer this genuine commitment to the nonprofit community, and I am elated at the positive impact that this initiative will allow Design to have.”

Public Architecture founder and president John Peterson is likewise enthusiastic to receive support from IIDA. “The mission of The 1% — to bring the well-designed built environment to those in need — is perfectly synchronous with the IIDA mission of advancing Design in the world,” he said. “We are excited at the chance to partner with IIDA and look forward to the excellence that its Designers will bring to the nonprofit community.”

Currently, more than 1,200 firms representing 15,000 Designers have committed to Public Architecture’s The 1%, providing nearly $45 million in pro bono services each year and supporting the organization’s intent to make well-designed and healthy environments accessible to underserved communities. Public Architecture will assist IIDA in its commitment by facilitating introductions between firms and nonprofits seeking pro bono design services.

To learn more about this partnership, visit www.theonepercent.org.


08.07.13 Field Notes

By Amy Ress

Pro active design typically starts with architects and designers who identify a spatial or environmental challenge in their community that has both the potential to be solved by design expertise and the likelihood to lead to community benefit. Through The 1% Firm Survey, we know that only about 40 percent of The 1% firm participants intend to utilize The 1% matching service to find their next pro bono project. So how are designers finding pro bono clients?

Public Architecture increasingly sees firms in The 1% network who take a pro active approach to social impact work. I’d like to share one such example, a pro active pro bono design initiative of Perkins + Will (P+W) that serves to benefit the Tenderloin Neighborhood in San Francisco. I was privileged to have volunteered and contributed to P+W’s effort during an inspiring and fun day of community engagement on July 21st.

The Jones Neighborhood Nexus is a long term concept for an architectural/urban design vision at the intersection of Jones & Market Street for the benefit of the residents and community, and is an initiative of P+W’s pro-bono architecture design program called the Social Responsibility Initiative. The study aims to create a dialogue about transforming a high-traffic and socially and economically challenged street corner in the Tenderloin, and it explores ways to highlight the neighborhood history and identity. P+W’s vision is to activate the space with a program of public art, community engagement activities, pop-up retail, green space and interactive kiosks.

To kick start the study, P+W hosted a community art event at the site and worked with local children from Youth Spirit Artworks and the Boys & Girls Club in creating a temporary street mural. By morning on the day of the event, P+W taped off the sidewalk into sections and supplied non-toxic tempera paints for a group of volunteers to brush in a multi-color block pattern. By noon, youth groups were painting in the details of a colorful quilt and dedicating the sidewalk mural to the Tenderloin arts community. Through the process, the youth literally claimed their urban neighborhood with depictions of trees and flowers, mountains and the sky, and abstract and geometric patterns. A live band contributed to the spirited scene and the activities drew a steady stream of community onlookers, from the local arts community to the homeless, hipsters, seniors and tourists. Nearly everyone was interested and asked questions about the project, and many encouraged the youth in their efforts.

Preparing for the event was no easy accomplishment. To temporarily close intersection and re-route the bus line, P+W worked over several months and up until the day of the event with numerous city agencies including the Mayor’s Office, Arts Commission, and MUNI. P+W’s team arrived in the early morning hours to install the barricades and to set up. Two P+W staff volunteers leading the SRI effort confided they were so anxious the day would go well that they couldn’t sleep the night before. Thanks to P+W’s SRI Group:  Seth Meisler, Rosannah Sandoval, Jeremy Bamberger, David Bradshaw, Jason Wilkinson, and Andrew Wolfram—for their efforts that paid off.

While the mural was temporary and removed after one week, the project exceeded P+W’s goal to spark a dialogue. The mural gave the neighborhood youth a voice in their district’s long term vision. Moreover, the project was a point of community pride and got people to see the potential of the Jones & Market Street intersection to be transformed to better represent and serve the community.

07.29.13 Field Notes

Last year, ASID and Public Architecture began a partnership to encourage ASID members to pledge to The 1% program. Amy Ress recently caught up with emerging interior designer and member of The 1% program, Kia Weatherspoon, Allied ASID, to learn about her inspiring approach to practice in the National Capital area. Over the past several months, Kia has worked with other interior designers and mental health professionals to establish the nonprofit, Room to Rebloom.

Amy: How do you describe your design practice?

Kia: Determined by Design, LLC is a concept driven design firm.  We believe design is determined by four things: concept, individuality, connectivity, and people.

Amy: What values and interests do you bring to your work? What inspires you?

Kia: The two things I value the most as a designer are a strong concept and people. You can’t have one without the other. The foundation of any project is the concept, which guides every decision I make. My concepts are then formed around people and how they will experience the space. I’ve always been inspired by creating impactful spaces for people; spaces that invoke a positive and reaffirming emotion.

Amy: Please tell me about Room to Rebloom. How does R2R contribute to helping women in D.C. who are victims of domestic violence?

Kia: Room to Rebloom’s mission is to empower low-income women and families in the National Capital area who have been victims of domestic violence by providing them with design services and other resources needed to create inspiring home spaces, and to help in their endeavor to rebuild their lives. Room to Rebloom will aid these women by using restorative design and revitalizing their environment to create an atmosphere of security and inspiration.

Amy: As a new participant, what do you hope to gain from The 1% pro bono design program?

Kia: I joined The 1% program with a goal to inspire other emerging designers to make an impact in their community. As designers, we have a commitment to make good design accessible to the community at large. This is why I am involved with Room to Rebloom, to create spaces that will have a powerful, positive and lasting impact on these women and their families. Resources like The 1% program are invaluable because it gives designers a starting point to give back.

Amy:  You’ve mentioned being an active ASID member. How does the ASID partnership with Public Architecture’s 1% program support the Society’s commitment to advance the profession and communicate the impact of interior design?

Kia: The key to any successful design venture is collaboration. This collaboration is influential because it reinforces ASID’s commitment to promote the value of design. Design value encompasses pro bono design but it is often overlooked. ASID’s partnership with The 1% emphasizes the importance of pro bono design to ASID’s members and the design community.

Amy: What advice would you give other designers who are interested to get involved?

Kia:  It’s advantageous to start small. Look at the needs of the surrounding communities, find projects that inspire you, and volunteer your time/services. A small organization may appreciate something as simple as a fresh color scheme and organizational tips. The biggest impact sometimes comes from the smallest changes. These types of minor details can be the essence of pro bono design and make a positive difference.

Give 1%. Are you an interior design member of ASID, but not a part of The 1% network that is making a difference? Join now.


06.17.13 Field Notes

Public Architecture is delighted to announce a partnership with A Billion + Change, a national campaign inspiring the largest commitment of pro bono service in history. Together the two organizations will work collaboratively to drive the transformation of business culture in America, making pro bono service the new normal for businesses of all sizes and sectors.

In a joint statement today, A Billion + Change Executive Director Jenny Lawson, and Public Architecture President and Founder, John Peterson said, “Recognizing our common commitment to pledges of service, activation of those pledges, measurement of success and our common belief in the future and power of pro bono service, we see this partnership as an exciting opportunity to grow the community of business owners and professionals who are committed to contributing pro bono and skilled services to underserved communities.” Read more

06.07.13 Resources

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