Public Interest Design
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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

April 11, 2014

Clean Conscience Dirty Hands Kicks Off Today


The Clean Conscience Dirty Hands symposium for social and humanitarian architecture kicks off today while riding the coattails of the opening to the new Steven Holl addition to the Glasgow School of Art. Over the next two days, participants and speakers will engage in discussions and workshops on themes of live build community projects, alternative routes into practice, and participatory community building. Joining the lineup of speakers are: MASS Design Group, TYIN Tegnestue, Architecture for Humanity, Assemble, SSoA Live Projects, Orkidstudio, and many more. Follow us on Twitter as we report throughout the day.

The ‘Clean Conscience Dirty Hands’ symposium recognises the limited resources intrinsic to the provision of social and humanitarian architecture and the impact of such scarcity on the ability of organisations to ‘harness’ the learning from each built project through documentation, discussion and dissemination. As such it seeks to provide both a locus and a forum for like-minded organisations engaged in social and humanitarian building projects, in order to capture and disseminate good practice in both a UK-based and international context.

Click here to read more about Clean Conscience Dirty Hands, online at

April 10, 2014

New Social Innovation Resource: SOCINN


A new site dedicated to social innovation has recently shown up on our radar. Under the tagline “Let’s design the future of our dreams,” the straightforward and simple SOCINN has five areas–Go, Work, Learn, Fund, and Look–ready and available for anyone looking to learn, explore, or find resources for social innovation. From an extensive list of funding options to a global events calendar, we are sure you’ll find something of interest!

Click here to visit SOCINN, online at

April 10, 2014

PID Global Schedule Released


The first-ever Public Interest Design Global symposium, organized by École Spéciale de l’Architecture and Design Corps, kicks off in one week on April 18th in Paris. The schedule of events has just been released (and republished below,) which includes discussions between 2014 SEED Award winners and public interest design leaders paired with interactive workshop sessions. Registration to attend is free. Read the rest of this entry »

April 10, 2014

Camp Firebelly 2014 Call for Applications


Now entering its seventh year, the popular Camp Firebelly–an apprentice offshoot of the brilliant graphic design studio Firebelly Design–is now accepting applications for the Summer 2014 program. In line with Firebelly’s motto “Good Design for Good Reason,” the 10-day intensive program is open to ten talented folks “looking to break into the design profession and use their powers for good.” The deadline for applications, including a $250 deposit, is due May 9, 2014.

Camp Firebelly promises non-stop adventure in good design for good reason. We anticipate long days (seriously) and a ton of work. But don’t worry, we know all design and no play makes for stir-crazy campers and crabby counselors. So we’ll have plenty of chances to find inspiration, build camaraderie and develop our creative skills too. There will be secret field trips, surprise guests and a view of the Chicago design community only 9 others will ever say they got to experience.

Click here to learn more and apply for Camp Firebelly 2014, online at

April 9, 2014

Emergent Structures Tackles Construction Waste

Deep in the heart of Georgia, Emergent Structures is on a mission to reduce building material waste through innovative repurposing projects. The Savannah-based nonprofit has been facilitating project collaborations between building professionals, developers, local government, and community members since 2009. Through this process, they have developed a forthcoming comprehensive framework for material repurposing that can be applied by municipalities and developers. With construction and demolition waste estimated at 170 million tons in 2003 alone, their efforts from a systemic level are key to tackling this issue.

Emergent Structures works toward transforming the public’s perception of waste. We believe there are ways to empower local populations by facilitating the distribution of these formerly unwanted materials throughout the community, including schools, other non-profits; municipal buildings and parks, and local and indigenous craft incubators.

Click here to read more about Emergent Structures, online at

April 9, 2014

WarkaWater Harvests Drinking Water from Air


768 million people on this planet don’t have access to safe water. In response to this deficit, architects Arturo Vittori and Andreas Vogler of Italian-based Architecture and Vision have developed a handmade water tower called ‘WarkaWater.’ With support from the Italian Cultural Centre in Addis Ababa and the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development, the tower–a 30-foot flexible bamboo framework with a hanging netted fabric–was developed to harvest water from air and fog in Ethiopia’s mountainous region where the local warka trees are disappearing. Keep an eye out for two working towers in Ethiopia next year.

In rural Ethiopia women and children walk several hours to collect water. Most people collect water from shallow, unprotected ponds which they share with animals and are subject to contamination. ‘WarkaWater’ is a 9 m tall bamboo framework with a special fabric hanging inside capable to collect potable water from the air by condensation. The lightweight structure is designed with parametric computing, but can be built with local skills and materials by the village inhabitants.

Click here to learn more about WarkaWater tower, online at

Autodesk Foundation is an evolving resource of the Autodesk Foundation, a first-of-its-kind foundation focused on design for a better world.



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