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Posts Tagged ‘The 1%’

August 7, 2012

Two new pro bono design resources introduced

Public Architecture yesterday announced two new resources related to its acclaimed pro bono service program, The 1%. Edited by program director Amy Ress and designed by Kay Cheng, the pair of resources include a Pro Bono Design Handbook for Nonprofits and a corresponding Pro Bono Design Handbook for Designers.

Available for online viewing via, the handbooks explain how firms and nonprofits can “connect through The 1% program and get the most from their pro bono experience as well as find new opportunities within the program’s matching service.”

Click here to view the Pro Bono Design Handbook for Nonprofits, or click here to view the corresponding Pro Bono Design Handbook for Designers, both online at

July 9, 2012

Syvertsen details Cannon Design’s service agenda

John Syvertsen, senior principal of Cannon Design and co-founder of the firm’s Open Hand Studio, took to the pages of DesignIntelligence to talk in great detail about the practice of socially responsible design. “In my 35 years of practice,” Syvertsen writes, “I have never seen such brilliant and positive energy as I have seen in the cause of socially responsible design. We are fortunate to have a generation of young professionals that not only believes that it can move the needle on global challenges, but that it must and it will.”

Referencing the firm’s work with the Taproot Foundation to identify key business benefits, its pledge through The 1% program of Public Architecture, and other recent convenings and conversations that he’s been a part of, Syvertsen’s lengthy piece commendably lays bare Cannon’s myriad efforts. He concludes by acknowledging, “A question we continually wrestle with is how we can incorporate Open Hand thinking and processes into all of our work. Perhaps lurking in all of this is the possibility of a Hippocratic Oath for design.”

Click here to read Syvertsen’s “Open Hand Studio and Social Sustainability in American A/E Practice” at

June 12, 2012

Public Architecture intros “The 1% Collection”

Public Architecture announced yesterday the launch of its latest campaign, called “The 1% Collection,” a component of its celebrated pro bono design program, The 1%. The announcement took place during the annual NeoCon design conference and tradeshow in Chicago. To date, two manufacturers have signed on, those being Skyline Design and Shaw Contract Group, with the latter’s commitment dating back to 2009. It’s the latest effort on the part of the organization to engage material manufacturers.

The 1% Collection is made up of manufacturers who believe in the work that Public Architecture is doing. Each time you spec a product from The Collection, the brand donates one percent of the sale to help fund The 1% program. And with each dollar raised, we’re able to leverage $60 of pro bono design for nonprofits.

Click here to learn more about The 1% Collection. Caption: “Give 1%” pin designed by Cynthia Garcia; The 1% Collection brand and messaging were designed by Eleven Inc., with the orange wrapper and insert cleverly repurposing a sketchbook originally designed for Public Architecture by Studio Hinrichs, thanks to a 2009 grant from the Ideas that Matter program of Sappi Limited.

June 11, 2012

2012 ASID Design for Humanity Award

Today, June 11, during the annual NeoCon tradeshow in Chicago, The 1% program of Public Architecture will be recognized with the “Design for Humanity Award” by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). The award is “bestowed by the Society upon an individual or institution that has significantly contributed to improving the environment for humanity through design-related activities or projects. The impact of these activities must have demonstrated far-reaching effects.” Past recipients include the likes of Architecture for Humanity and the Robin Hood L!brary Initiative.

The 1% program warranted a special feature in the infographic that we released last week. Conceived in 2002 and formally launched in 2005 with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, The 1% challenges architecture and design firms nationwide to pledge a minimum of 1% of their billable hours to pro bono service. Surveys by the organization have shown that a majority of firms commit an average of 2.5%, it turns out. As of this writing, 1,050 firms have signed on to the program, pledging 311,598 hours, while 620 nonprofits have applied for pro bono design assistance.

Click here to see The 1% program in the context of our first public interest design infographic, or click here to visit Caption: Graphic designed by Megan Jett.

May 30, 2012

The 1% homepage banners get a refresh

Public Architecture has refreshed the image banners of homepage, its matchmaking pro bono service program website launched in 2007. Starting with two bold graphics in Public Architecture’s signature orange, the new deck of ten still images replace the last iteration’s set of photographs.

In addition to several slides about The 1% program itself, pro bono projects profiled in the new series include two featured in The Power of Pro Bono book, those being Eskew+Dumez+Ripple‘s Prospect.1 installation in New Orleans and SERA Architects‘ “p:ear” headquarters in Portland, Ore. Three other projects include Interboro PartnersMoMA PS1 installation in Queens, the Kiva headquarters by STUDIOS ARchitecture in San Francisco, and the Hayes Valley Playground & Community Center, also in San Francisco, by WRNS Studio.

Click here to learn more about The 1% program of Public Architecture at

April 2, 2012

ArchRecord profiles matchmaker desigNYC

We have featured desigNYC several times (cataloged here), as we believe it represents a vital next step for pro bono design: matchmaking. The organization, its clients and contributors were profiled late last week by Architectural Record, with a piece titled “Nonprofit Groups Get Major Boost from Matchmaker desigNYC.” The organization joins other great matchmakers including the likes of the Community Design Collaborative and the Taproot Foundation.

The idea for desigNYC emerged years ago during a casual conversation between ESI Design executives and Wendy Goodman, of New York Magazine. Then in 2009, 14 committee members–including architects Deborah Berke, James Biber, and Zack McKown–officially launched desigNYC, which is supported primarily through grants and donations. They were inspired by San Francisco-based Public Architecture’s 1% program, which encourages firms to donate at least 1% of their working hours to pro bono projects. The committee aimed to take this initiative a step further by directly pairing designers with nonprofits. “A lot of designers have the desire to be involved in these kinds of projects,” says executive director Laetitia Wolff, “but they just don’t know where to start, or how to do it.”

Click here to read “Nonprofit Groups Get Major Boost from Matchmaker desigNYC,” now online at Caption: Rendering of the PortSide NewYork BoatBox, a desigNYC project.

March 27, 2012

Public Architecture interviews Interboro Partners

Perhaps best known for their winning design for MoMA’s PS1 competition (pictured above), Interboro Partners arguably represents the cutting-edge of architecture and design these days. While ahead of the curve on many fronts, the firm has the dubious distinction of being the 1,000th firm to join The 1% pro bono service program of Public Architecture. Its partners–Tobias ArmborstDaniel D’Oca, and Georgeen Theodore–spoke with the Public Architecture staff about their work in a newly-published blog post on the organization’s website, and the following is just one insightful excerpt:

We believe in everything that it is doing but we also believe that “design for social change” shouldn’t be a special category. When we started thinking about our practice we decided we would develop it with this idea at the forefront of our minds…There’s no reason why architecture can’t provide the kinds of services that clients and communities need and also aspire to make the world better, without getting into platitudes. People usually think of architecture with a clear disciplinary boundary and we’re trying to be more expansive about what architecture can do and what the products are; in doing so you can be more flexible in incorporating more and new goals into a project.

Click here to read Public Architecture’s complete interview with Interboro Partners.

March 7, 2012

ArchRecord: Humanitarian Design Firm Programs

We continue our coverage of Architectural Record‘s “Building for Social Change” issue with what appears like the shortest resource list of all, while it actually runs the deepest. In searching for formalized, firm-wide programs, we found just one, Perkins+Will‘s Social Responsibility Initiative (SRI), launched in 2008. The program places “SRI Officers” in each Perkins+Will office, to field inquiries and manage pro bono projects, but also has a national oversight council. Last summer, the firm published its third annual report on the work, available here.

Perkins+Will based its SRI program in large part on the firm’s pledge through The 1% program of Public Architecture. Launched in 2005 with the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Public Architecture’s flagship program now counts 1,014 firms among its ranks, which together have pledged over 300,000 hours or what the organization now estimates to be $38 million in donated services annually. (The 1% program is profiled on page 42 of this month’s Architectural Record, with the headline “Pro Bono Work on the Rise.”) Two other large firm members of The 1% program have the beginnings of firm-wide programs, those being HOK‘s growing “Impact” program as well as “Open Hand Studio,” which is in the process of growing beyond Cannon Design‘s Chicago office.

Click here to read more about these humanitarian design firm program in “The Good List,” online at

January 18, 2012

AIA & Public Architecture announce partnership

Longtime supporters of Public Architecture, the American Institute of Architects national component last month signed a memorandum of understanding with the organization pertaining to The 1% pro bono program. Among other stipulations, the AIA will commit $25,000 annually for the next five years, totaling $125,000 and building on a one-time, single-year grant of $115,000 in 2007.

Also in 2007, in conferring its Institute Honors for Collaborative Achievement the AIA declared: “As a call to arms for all architects, Public Architecture has elevated the awareness of pro bono work from personal option to professional imperative. Their every effort is distinguished by unflagging attention to providing the highest levels of design excellence in service to the public interest.” Additionally, during his tenure as editor of Architectural Record magazine, AIA CEO Robert Ivy wrote of The 1% program, “The idea is smart, clean, and memorable.”

Click here to learn more about the AIA’s partnership with Public Architecture.

January 18, 2012

The 1% pro bono program eclipses 1,000 firms

San Francisco nonprofit Public Architecture, which will celebrate its tenth anniversary in 2012, hit another major milestone yesterday as its pro bono design program, The 1%, eclipsed 1,000 firms. Together, they have pledged over 300,000 hours, now valued by the organization at nearly $40 million annually. The 1% program was conceived in Public Architecture’s first year, and formally launched on March 1, 2005; click here to read the original press release. According to website:

1% of an 8-hour work day is 4.8 minutes. Over the course of a traditional 2,080-hour work year, it amounts to just 20 hours per person. If every architecture professional in the U.S. committed 1% of their time to pro bono service, it would add up to 5,000,000 hours annually–the equivalent of a 2,500-person firm, working full-time for the public good.

Click here to learn more about The 1% program, profiled here at previously.

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