Public Interest Design
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April 18, 2014

PID Global Kicks Off Today


The first-ever Public Interest Design Global, organized by École Spéciale de l’Architecture and Design Corps, kicks off today in Paris. The morning session will include presentations by 2014 SEED Award winners Dr. Hussein Tarabeih on the TEAQ Green Building, Michael Murphy of MASS Design Group on Butaro Doctors’ Housing, and Studio Swine on Can City. Following the morning presentations will be an afternoon of workgroup sessions. We hope our internet connection is a bit more stable than last week at Clean Conscience Dirty Hands in Glasgow so you can follow the conversation on our Twitter account here.

Click here to learn more about PID Global, online at

April 17, 2014

“Why We Need to Rethink Homeless Housing”


Architecture writer Matt Shaw recently took to the pages of Architizer in the thought-provoking article “Why We Need to Rethink Homeless Housing.” Citing an increasing homelessness population in Los Angeles, Shaw questions the costly ‘small scale remedies’ of the Skid Row Housing Trust’s developments, a third of which have been designed by preeminent architects such as Michael Maltzan, Koning Eisenberg, and Brooks + Scarpa. Whether you side with low-income housing “leading the vanguard of innovative architecture” or using “creativity and innovation in design to tackle the problem of 57,000 homeless people,” he incites discussions about the scale of impact that architecture can have on critical issues and the amount of work still left to tackle.

Rather than using the noble cause of homeless housing to launch beautiful design, why not use creativity and innovation in design to tackle the problem of 57,000 homeless people? Instead of vastly underutilizing the site and producing a sexy building of 100 units, why not use these opportunities as compact design challenges? Creating more units quickly and efficiently does not necessarily have to mean a sacrifice in quality or aesthetic. And so in looking at the big picture, architects should really be asking: How many people can we get off the street for $19.3 million?

Click here to read “Why We Need to Rethink Homeless Housing,” online at

April 17, 2014

NEA Announces $74 Million in Grants for 2014


The National Endowment for the Arts announced plans to award an additional $74.85 million in 971 grants to nonprofit organizations this year. In the Art Works program that focuses on “public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and enhancement of the livability of communities through the arts,” 51 grants in the Design category will be awarded for a total sum of $1,496,000. Recipients include many well-known organizations who are leading the public interest and community design movement, including bcWORKSHOP, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Design Corps, Design Trust for Public Space, D‐Rev, Enterprise Community Partners,, Project H Design, and the Van Alen Institute. NEA Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa spoke about the impact of the NEA program:

We know that arts and culture play an important role in our nation’s economy, with the most recent numbers showing the sector comprising more than 3.2 percent – or $504 billion – of GDP. The NEA is proud to support the nation’s nonprofit organizations which are an integral part of the arts and cultural sector. These NEA-supported projects will not only have a positive impact on local economies, but will also provide opportunities for people of all ages to participate in the arts, help our communities to become more vibrant, and support our nation’s artists as they contribute to our cultural landscape.

Click here to read more about the NEA 2014 grant recipients, online at

April 17, 2014

Pulitzer Bestowed Upon Critic Inga Saffron


On Monday Inga Saffron, The Philadelphia Inquirer’s architecture critic, was awarded a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for “her criticism of architecture that blends expertise, civic passion and sheer readability into arguments that consistently stimulate and surprise.” Saffron has covered Philadelphia’s architecture, design, and urban development in her popular “Changing Skyline” column since 1999, eliciting changes to city policy on waterfront development, zoning, and parking issues. Join us in sending a hearty congratulations to the brilliant Inga Saffron who continues to bring relevant design issues to the public domain.

Pushing beyond the usual boundaries of architectural criticism, her columns focus on the buildings and public spaces that Philadelphians encounter in their daily lives. Saffron applies a reporter’s skills and sensibility to explore the variety of forces – political, financial, cultural – that shape the city… This year, Saffron launched Built, an innovative new web page that allows her to curate Inquirer stories on architecture, development and transportation. By packaging this related content together and updating it daily, Saffron has focused attention on a group of interconnected issues that are crucial to Philadelphia’s future.

Click here to read more on Inga Saffron’s Pulitzer Prize, online at

April 16, 2014

The Coffee Cup Inspired Exo Housing Unit

With inspiration from a coffee cup and an obsession with disaster relief housing, Michael McDaniel has developed an inexpensive, lightweight, and easily transported shelter to address the tens of millions people displaced by natural disasters each year. After surpassing their funding goals on Indiegogo, McDaniel and his team at Reaction Housing are now in the process of constructing the first Exo Housing Unit prototypes. In a recent Fast Company article, McDaniel spoke about their plans to scale:

Once we’re done evaluating the prototypes, we’ll be able to send them to Syria. Indiegogo is allowing us to get units out there helping people now, but we can also get feedback on the ground before rolling out these things en masse. It’s essentially design research with a purpose.

Click here to read more about Reaction Housing’s Exo Housing Unit, online at

April 16, 2014

Catch the Final 2 Impact! Social Design Sessions


The 2014 Impact! Design for Social Change webinar series–a collaborative production by the School of Visual Arts, Design Ignites Change, and Worldstudio–has surpassed the halfway point in this year’s season. If you missed the first four webinars with Forward MapworksJohn Bruce on Strategy Mapping, NESsT’s Lee Davis on Social Design Entrepreneurship, Public Policy Lab’s Chelsea Maudlin on Design Citizens, or Design Impact’s Ramsey Ford on Embedded Design, the production team has expediently uploaded the archived videos to the Impact! website for your viewing pleasure. Catch the final two conversations live by registering on Eventbrite.

Friday, April 18, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“The Legal Labyrinth: Where Do I Begin?”
with Carly Leinheiser, Perlman and Perlman

Friday, May 2, 2014, 12:30pm EST
“Inspiring the Next Generation: Harnessing Brilliance”
with Emily Pilloton, Project H and Camp H

Click here to watch the archived Impact! Sessions on, and click here to register for the two remaining webinars on

April 15, 2014

10 PID Projects Make Architizer’s 2014 A+ Awards


“Designed to break architecture out of the echo chamber,” Architizer announced the winners of the second annual A+ Awards. Proclaimed as the largest architecture award program in the world, projects were judged by 200 leading architects, thought-leaders and developers and winners have been promoted through partnerships with the Wall Street Journal and the Webbys. We scoured the 60+ categories to find award recipients with a public interest design bent, which happily resulted in ten projects. Read the rest of this entry »

April 15, 2014

Attend What Design Can Do in May


On May 8th and 9th, international designers will be convening in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the 4th annual What Design Can Do event to investigate “the power of design as an agent for social renewal.” The two-day event will start each day with presentations by various designers, including Teddy Cruz, Daisy Ginsberg, Michael Bierut, and Paola Antonelli, and feature afternoon breakout sessions on four themes: Learning, Nature, Economy, and Stories. Precluding the event will be an eight-day film festival featuring Project H’s “If You Build It” documentary on May 1st. Tickets to attend are €175 for single day and €300 for both days.

What Design Can Do was formed in 2011 by a group of designers from various fields, with the aim of separating what is valuable from what is worthless. By showcasing best practices and visions, raising discussions and facilitating collaboration between disciplines, What Design Can Do wants to raise awareness among the public for the potential of creativity. At the same time, What Design Can Do calls on designers to take responsibility and consider how their work can impact the wider society.

Click here to learn more and register for What Design Can Do 2014, online at

April 15, 2014

Design Ignites Change 2014 Student Awards


Nonprofit design champion Design Ignites Change just released the winners of the 2014 Student Innovation Awards for social design projects that “range from the pragmatic to the provocative, from the feasible to the fanciful, as long as they address a pressing social need within a community and apply innovation and design thinking to solve a problem.” From a community park to medication communication, we’re encouraged to see more and more design students immersing themselves in real-world problems and garnering recognition and support for their efforts.

$1,000 Award Winners

Medication Communication: Helping patients stick to their medication regimen
Laura Brewer-Yarnall, Maryland Institute College of Design

After Suicide: Support for loosing a loved one to suicide
Bridget Dearborn, School of Visual Arts

$500 Award Winners

RAXSA: Functional shelter for street merchants in India
Max Berney, Maureen Mullins and Jeff Pettit, Virginia Tech

Just Drop: Encouraging donations through a P-O-P display
Clark Svet and Bryan Burk, Missouri State University

IRIS: Better communication in high-risk medical environments
Claire Sakaguchi, Sara Birns and Curtis Logan Olson, the University of Oregon

Whitelock Community Park: Residents in Baltimore finally get the park they’ve been promised
Andrea Brown and Byron Banghart, Maryland Institute College of Design

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Student Innovation Awards, online at

April 14, 2014

Reminder: Contract Inspiration Awards Due Friday


Submissions to Contract Magazine’s fifth annual Inspiration Awards ends this Friday, April 18th. The awards recognize the importance of social responsibility in commercial interior architecture in two categories: the first for built commercial interior projects for a $5,000 award grant; and the second for practice-based initiatives, resulting in a $1000 award grant. Join the ranks of previous winners Shimoda Design Group for TOMS Shoes Headquarters, MASS Design Group for the Butaro Doctors’ Housing, and Eastlake Studio for The Cara Program Headquarters, amongst other esteemed designers and projects.

More and more, the commercial design community plays a leadership role in furthering global efforts for social responsibility. In response to these accomplishments, and true to our mission of inspiring commercial design solutions, Contract magazine, in partnership with Tandus Centiva, presents the fifth annual Inspirations Awards. Through a holistic view, the Inspirations Awards recognize a commitment to social responsibility in commercial interior architecture: Implementing design and/or design skills to improve the quality of life for those in need.

Click here to enter Contract’s Inspiration Awards by Friday, April 18, 2014, online at

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