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Posts Tagged ‘Bryan Bell’

August 27, 2014

Feature: How will Public Interest Design look in 2024? 18 Practitioners Weigh In


Rewind to 2004 and think about what you were doing on August 27th. On this day ten years ago, a cold air conditioned breeze was blowing through my hair and onto my sticky skin as I took a break from moving boxes and bags into my apartment in New Orleans. Entering my fourth year of architecture school at Tulane University, I was looking forward to learning a new computer program called Revit. Public interest design–and social impact, community-led, humanitarian, and the lot–hadn’t even entered my evolving architecture vocabulary. Since that hot, humid August day in New Orleans, the field of passionate designers has blossomed beyond anything I could have imagined. Now, students entering their fourth year at Tulane have most likely heard of public interest design, if not participated in a studio or class specifically focused on the subject.

With the immense strides, enthusiasm, and involvement in this field of work since 2004, we were curious to hear from practitioners–new and established, young and, ahem, seasoned–on what the next 10 years has in store. We posed the following question to a few of our favorite designers:

How do you think the field of public interest/ impact design will look in 10 years?

Amongst the eighteen responses below, we see a resounding vision for more established methods, metrics, tools, and a mainstream position within the wider design and architecture industries. With these designers and many more at the helm of this movement, the promise for what we can achieve by 2024 is very bright. (more…)

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. (more…)

March 26, 2014

“Fellowships: Redesigning Public Service”


Our own editor and Design Affects founder Katie Crepeau took to the pages of the AIA Young Architects Forum ‘Connection’ issue on Advocacy. In “Fellowships: Redesigning Public Service,” she traverses through the evolution and emergence of architectural fellowship opportunities in the public realm, citing diverse institutions such as the Van Alen Institute, Public Policy Lab, and San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Innovation. Together with articles from Design CorpsBryan Bell, Center for Public Interest Design’s Sergio Palleroni, Enterprise Community Partners‘ Katie Swenson, Urban Land Institute’s Jess Zimbabwe, and many others, the Advocacy issue highlights the ever-expanding opportunities for architects to make an impact in new ways.

What happens between obtaining an architecture degree and a practicing license typically goes one of three ways: work, return to a university for post-grad studies, or abandon the profession altogether. However, this window of opportunity has the potential to be much more exploratory, both creatively and professionally… how might someone bridge the gap between education and practice by continuing creative interests and grounding oneself in the practicalities of design and building?

Click here to read “Fellowships: Redesigning Public Service” or click here to read the full issue of ‘Connection’ online at

February 24, 2014

Early Registration for SFI 14 & PIDI NYC End 2/28


Early Bird Registration for Structures for Inclusion 14 and Public Interest Design Institute Training NYC both end this Friday, February 28, 2014.

This year SFI 14 will take place from March 22-23, 2014, at Parsons the New School for Design in New York City on the theme “Broadcast. Forecast.” Along with panel discussions and presentations by 2014 SEED Award Winners, the weekend will include workshops and breakout sessions for attendees to address “What is the future of Public Interest Design?”

Click here to secure a place at SFI 14 by February 28, 2014, with the Early Bird Registration prices of $150 for General Admission and $50 for Students, online at


PIDI Training in New York City will begin right after SFI 14, occurring March 24-25, 2014, at the  J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at the City College of New York. The curriculum is formed around the SEED metric and will “provide design and planning professionals with in-depth study on methods of how design can address the critical issues faced by communities.” The two-day course will include presentations from Design Corp’s Bryan Bell, Enterprise Community Partners’ Shola Olatoye, UPSTATE Director and Syracuse University Professor Marc Norman, J. Max Bond Center’s Esther Yang and Toni L. Griffin (see her TED City2.0 talk here), and Shed Studio’s Rashmi Ramaswamy.

Click here to register for PIDI Training NYC by February 28, 2014, with the Early Bird Registration prices of $400 for Standard Registration, $250 for Professional Association members, and $200 for Students, online at

If you are considering attending both SFI 14 and PIDI NYC, there is a combination price available at $300 for Professionals and $150 for Students, online at

January 24, 2014

Registration Open for Structures for Inclusion 14


Following up on yesterday’s post on the 2014 SEED Award Winners, the fourteenth annual Structures for Inclusion (SFI) conference, where winning teams will present their projects, is now open for registration. Co-hosted by Parsons The New School for Design, SFI14 will take place on March 22-23, 2014, at Parsons’ University Center in the heart of New York City. Along with the two-day conference, the Public Interest Design Institute will be conducting it’s 20th training program at the J. Max Bond Center on Design for the Just City at the City College of New York on March 24-25–the first one to be held in New York City since the program began in 2011.

From its inception in 2000, the goals of the SFI conference have been to showcase design efforts that serve a diverse clientele by presenting inspiring projects, pathways to pursue alternative community-based work, and evidence of the positive impact of this work. Funding for the awards and conference are provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Surdna Foundation.

Click here for more information or to register for SFI14. Registeration pricing ranges from $25-$200, with Super Early Bird ending February 7, 2014, and Early Bird ending February 28, 2014. Additional updates on the agenda and speakers will be posted here at as they are available.

November 18, 2013

Public Interest Design Institute Featured on WNPR


In the lead up to Public Interest Design Institute’s SEED Training at Yale School of Architecture last week, WNPR host John Dankosky spoke with Alan Plattus, professor at Yale and founder of Yale Urban Design Workshop, Bryan Bell, Executive Director of Design Corps, and Anne Frederick, Founding Director of Hester Street Collective. Kicking off the show with a quote from our own John Cary, Dankosky digs into the work of Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Rural Studio, and many other organizations–including those of the guests–who are ‘Solving Social Problems Using Public Interest Design.’

“Social” or “public-interest” design is working in high-risk neighborhoods all over the country, proving that thoughtful, community-involved design ideas really can address a community’s critical issues and needs. Architect Bryan Bell says, “Never before have so many of the world’s problems been as accessible to design solutions.”

Click here to listen to the entire show, online at

May 13, 2013

Architect Magazine Covers PID Institute


The AIA‘s Architect Magazine last week profiled an initiative it has sponsored, called the Public Interest Design Institute (PIDI), launched by Design Corps in 2011 to promote the Social/Economic/Environmental Design (SEED) Network. The piece, titled “How Public Interest Design Can Pull Its Own Weight,” is subtitled “Through two-day institutes, SEED Network co-founders have committed to training 800 people per year in public interest design.”

It doesn’t matter where the term “public interest design” came from—it only matters where it’s going. That’s what Design Corps founder Bryan Bell wants people to know about the Public Interest Design Institute, which is heading to Mexico. Bell, just back from a planning trip there for the first international institute location, says he’s ready to take the institute overseas. A long-time fledgling movement, public interest design is now coming into its own, and it’s building a critical mass both here and abroad.

Click here to read “How Public Interest Design Can Pull Its Own Weight,” online at

May 7, 2013

Bryan Bell’s Career Defining Moment


We ring in Tuesday with another excerpt from Design Affects‘ breakthrough piece, “15 Social Impact Designers Reveal Their Career Defining Moment.” Today we hear from Bryan Bell, founder and executive director of Design Corps. In his response, Bell explained:

In 1985, when I was still in grad school, I happened to meet a partner of Mockbee Coker Howorth. In my interview, I met Sambo Mockbee who had completed one “charity house.” He hired me at $4 per hour to be in charge of designing three more such houses. We worked with a nun and United Way to find three eligible families. Watching Sambo work with these families, nine years before he started the Rural Studio, was life changing. The houses were individually designed for each family. Sambo did one, I did one, and we did one together. Even though the houses were not funded and never built, it taught me how great design was of great value to all. Main lesson is that design is about people not things.

Click here to read more of Design Affects’ “15 Social Impact Designers Reveal Their Career Defining Moment,” online at Credit: Photograph by Victoria Ballard Bell.

April 17, 2013

Residential Architect Covers Public Interest Design


Residential Architect magazine, through interviews with an array of leaders in the field, this month published “Blazing Trails: A dedication to social justice propels today’s young professionals.” The piece includes profiles with many of us, including several young-at-heart, but not otherwise “young.” In truth, the field of public interest design is much more intergenerational than the title implies, and that’s a good thing for everyone. Author Cheryl Weber writes, “Public interest design–which focuses on the needs of the community rather than the individual–is not new, but the next generation of designers sees it as integral to practice.”

Among others interviewed or cited in the piece are Enterprise Rose Fellow Theresa Hwang of Skid Row Housing Trust; Michael Kimmelman of The New York Times, Katie Swenson of Enterprise Community Partners; Meg Brown of Perkins+Will; our own John Cary; Sergio Palleroni of the BaSiC Initiative; Michael Murphy and Alan Ricks of MASS Design Group; Bryan Bell of Design Corps; Brent Brown of buildingcommunityWORKSHOP; Beth Miller of the Community Design Collaborative; Enterprise Rose Fellow Peter Aeschbacher of Penn State University‘s Hamer Center for Community Design; and Jonathan Rose of Jonathan Rose Companies. Murphy speaks for many in his closing quote, saying “I don’t think there’s non-humanitarian architecture, just architecture, but some have lost their way. We need to fuse this falsely bifurcated discipline into one movement.”

Click here to read “Blazing Trails: A dedication to social justice propels today’s young professionals,” online at

March 27, 2013

A Brief Look Back at Structures for Inclusion 6


With the thirteenth international Structures for Inclusion (SFI) conference wrapped up, 2006 co-chair Jess Zimbabwe tweeted out this gem of a photo from SFI6. That event was held March 24-26, 2006, in San Francisco, at the Morgan Auditorium owned by the Academy of Art University, with the stage set generously donated by Design Within Reach. Nonprofits Public Architecture and Urban Ecology served as the local host organizations, partnering with Design Corps.

Among many other outcomes, the SFI6 conference theme–”Expanding Design”–was adopted by co-editors Bryan Bell and Katie Wakeford for their 2008 landmark book, Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism. SFI6 host committee member Liz Ogbu also joined the staff of Public Architecture, going on to lead that organization’s design initiatives and join the inaugural class of Fellows, before keynoting our Public Interest Design Week on the eve of SFI13 this past Friday. And perhaps the most important development since that time is that the diversity of the public interest design field has visibly increased from this panel of one woman among five presenters, to a majority of women and much higher percentage of people of color presenting this year, evidenced in our Public Interest Design Week photo recap here.

Click hère for a look back at the Structures for Inclusion 6 conference, online at Caption: Photo by Jess Zimbabwe.

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