Sunday, March 27, 2011

Volunteer Opps for the Farnsworth House Tour Season

Mies van der Rohe’s modern masterpiece, the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, is in need of volunteers for the upcoming 2011 tourism season (April through the November 23). Volunteers will be trained as docents to relate the history and relevance of this international icon of modern architecture to visiting architects, designers, students and the general public – a unique, hands-on opportunity for students and professors.

In addition, volunteers for the 2011 season will have a unique opportunity to participate in various roles surrounding the Farnsworth House’s special exhibition featuring Virginia Tech’s LUMENHAUS – the International Solar Decathlon Competition winner. Inspired by the Farnsworth House, LUMENHAUS is an innovative house integrating architecture and technology to make a well-designed, energy independent, mobile structure. This exhibition will be on display April through July 2011.

Volunteers receive the benefit of discounts in the Farnsworth House Shop, access to exclusive art and architecture-related conferences, free or discounted tours of other historic sites, and a membership to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in addition to unprecedented access to the Farnsworth House.

Open Tuesday through Sunday, April 1 through November 23, the house museum’s annual visitation is over 8,500 individuals from more than 60 countries. Volunteers can contribute their time at the level they’re comfortable with while enjoying conversations with fascinating people in a serene and meditative atmosphere.

The Farnsworth House is a National Historic Landmark owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as a house museum. It is open to the public and available for private events.

For more information about the docent program, call 630.552.0052 or visit

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Achieving Design Excellence in Affordable Housing

This weekend's SFI Conference will be preceded by a special session by Enterprise Community Partners:

On Friday, March 25, Enterprise Community Partners will be hosting a one-day symposium on Achieving Design Excellence in Affordable Housing at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, IL.

Local Chicago leaders will join national innovators for a day of panel discussions that will explore new approaches and opportunities in affordable housing design, addressing topics ranging from asset management to foreclosure response, and from community engagement to designing for the most vulnerable. The day-long symposium will conclude with a keynote address by architects Patrick Tighe, AIA and Ric. Abramson, AIA. Tighe is the principal and lead designer at Patrick Tighe Architecture and was recently awarded a 2011 AIA Honor Award in Interior Architecture. Abramson is the founder of Workplays studio*architecture and is on the Board of Directors at West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (WHCHC). Together, they will discuss WHCHC’s Sierra Bonita Apartments, a 42-unit apartment building designed by Tighe for low-income, physically disabled residents. This keynote will conclude our day long symposium, and kick off Design Corp’s Structures for Inclusion Conference.

The conference is free and open to the public, but does require registration. To register for the Enterprise conference only, go to: and selected “Enterprise Attendee” as the registration type.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Structures for Inclusion 10 + 1 this Weekend

This year's annual conference takes place right here in Chicago at the School of the Art Institute over three days, March 25-27 (that's this weekend so hurry up and register). The Press Release:
Structures for Inclusion 10 + 1 (SFI) is the eleventh conference in an annual series featuring architects as change agents addressing the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges of the world today. SFI enlarges the scope of the green design movement to consider the broader social and economic well-being and sustainability of communities and cities.

SFI 10 + 1 will bring together design professionals and students, community activists and nonprofit organizations alike. The three-day conference will cover topics such as: making change, learning from community, working in interdisciplinary environments, and innovation. It will include a wide variety of keynotes, panels, hands-on workshops, tours, and opportunities for informal conversation and networking. SFI 10 + 1 will challenge participants to take action in their own schools, practices, and community, and invite them to share ideas and brainstorm about different approaches to community-based design.

SFI 10 + 1 will feature winners of the Social Economic Environmental Design (SEED) Award, chosen through an international competition in January. The winning projects showcase sustainability through interdisciplinary collaboration, ecological innovation, and community engagement, illustrating high impact work accomplished through an economy of means. Each highlights the important role design can perform in the public’s interest and speaks to a renewed concern in the architectural and design community for making a contribution to promote social change. The six SEED Award Winners are: Café 524 in Pittsburgh, PA; Congo Street Initiative in Dallas, TX; Studio H in Bertie County, NC; Growing Home in Chicago, IL; Inspiration Kitchens East Garfield Park in Chicago, IL; St. Joseph Rebuild Center in New Orleans, LA. These projects demonstrate how design is playing a role in addressing the most critical issues around the globe today: job creation, hunger, education, health, disaster relief, and the environment.

In addition to the designers and community partners involved in the awarded SEED Competition projects, the conferences keynotes, panels, and workshops will include the participation of:

Opening Keynote: Patrick Tighe, Tighe Architects
Tom Fisher, Dean, College of Design, University of Minnesota
Andrew Freear, Director, Rural Studio
Christine Gaspar, Executive Director, Center for Urban Pedagogy
Trung Le, CANNON Design, Co-author, The Third Teacher
Liz Ogbu, Associate Director, Public Architecture
Sergio Palleroni, Co-founder and Director, BaSiC Initiative
Quilian Riano, DSGN AGNC
Michael Zaretsky, Co-author, New Directions in Sustainable Design

SFI 10 +1 will be a dynamic array of nationally known speakers and innovators and feature several emerging local designers.  From big-picture discussions to hands-on workshops, the SFI conference will be a storm of ideas.

SFI 10+1 will be preceded by a session  with a focus on affordable housing, co-presented by the Enterprise Community Partners and Structures for Inclusion. Various panels and discussions with national and local housing non-profit developers and designers will be featured during the day on Friday March, 25. The main SFI conference will start Friday night with a reception and a keynote.

The SEED Competition is organized by the Social Economic Environmental Design Network and Design Corps.

Location:    SAIC Ballroom, School of the Art Institute, 112 South Michigan Ave., Chicago

More info.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Big Events this Week

LOTS going on this week beginning with our friends at Enterprise Community Partners and culminating with the Structures for Inclusion conference.

Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellows 6x10
Monday, March 21, 6:00 pm-7:30 pm.

Ten-minute presentations by six recipients of the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellowship, including Daniel Splaingard, a Rose Fellow currently working at Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation in Chicago. You will have the opportunity to learn about community design projects all over the country - and about applying to this three-year fellowship program.
      The Rose Fellowship fosters a unique partnership among a fellow, a host organization, and Enterprise to carry out a three-year fellowship plan. The fellow contributes his or her time and energy to work as part of the host organization’s staff, building capacity and bringing fresh experience and ideas to the organization. The host provides mentorship and guidance, supporting the development of the fellow’s career by providing meaningful experiences in design, development, financing, construction management, resident engagement—and in some cases—community planning. Enterprise provides an annual stipend, coaching, training and opportunities for sharing and learning among the fellows. Applications for 2012 Rose Fellowships will be accepted beginning May 1, 2011.

Refreshments will be served.
This event is sponsored by Community Interface Committee
Learning units: 1 LU
Location: AIA Chicago, 35 East Wacker Drive, #250

More info.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Structures for Inclusion 10 + 1 Press Release

 SFI 10 + 1 Conference

CONTACTS: Bryan Bell,
                  Emily Axtman,


SEED Awards demonstrate that new Public Interest Design field has emerged to be presented at conference in Chicago, March 25-27, 2011 School of the Art Institute of Chicago

The Social Economic Environmental Design Competition (SEED) Design Awards, an international competition focusing on Public Interest Design, were announced today. Six projects were selected and will be presented at the Structures for Inclusion conference in Chicago, Friday through Sunday, March 25, 26 and 27. The three regional projects and three international projects highlight the important role design can perform in the public’s interest, and show that a renewed interest in contributing through architecture has reached a critical mass.

The six SEED Award Winners are: Café 524 in Pittsburgh, PA; Congo Street Initiative in Dallas, TX; Studio H in Bertie County, NC; Growing Home in Chicago, IL; Inspiration Kitchen East Garfield Park in Chicago, IL; St. Joseph Rebuild Center in New Orleans, LA.

These projects demonstrate how design is playing a role in addressing the most critical issues around the globe today: job creation, hunger, education, disaster relief, and the environment.

Jurors were very impressed with the rigor and level of community engagement displayed by the submissions, and decided to recognize an additional six Honorable Mentions. Juror Monica Chadha said:

We truly enjoyed the high caliber of entries. The winning submissions showcase not only how to work collaboratively but also how to create sustaining work by engaging all of the constituents. These projects are having high impact with an economy of means: much more is being done with much less. The projects show that the community/designer teams are aligned with the SEED vision to create a socially, economically and environmentally healthy community for all.
The Honorable Mention recipients are: Butaro District Hospital in Butaro, Rwanda; Girubuntu Primary School in Butaro, Rwanda; Lydia Street Alley Flat in Austin, TX; Rehabilitation of Bhaldi Village in Bhuj India; Roche Health Center in Roche, Tanzania; Student Organic Farm in Clemson, SC.

Each project had to go through the critical SEED application to ensure that the community was involved in setting the goals for the project and in developing the design solution.

Structures for Inclusion Conference
Structures for Inclusion (SFI) is the eleventh conference in an annual series covering the role of architects as a change agent in overcoming the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges of the world today. SFI goes beyond the green design movement to include the social and economic impacts of design.

SFI 10 + 1 will bring together design professionals and students, community activists and nonprofit organizations alike. The three day conference will cover questions such as: How do we make positive change happen through design? SFI 10 + 1 will challenge participants to take action in their own school, practice and community to be agents of change.

The Competition is being organized by the Social Economic Environmental Design Network and Design Corps.

Sponsored by:
The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Enterprise Foundation and the SFI 10+1 Committee.

For more information, go to or contact:

Bryan Bell, Executive Director    Emily Axtman
Design Corps                             Design Corps
919-637-2804                             919-641-1368
2243 The Circle                         2243 The Circle
Raleigh, NC 27608                      Raleigh, NC 27608

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Volunteer Opportunity This Saturday

 Calling all architects, students of architecture and architects-at-heart to volunteer at Young Architect's Day at Wonder Works. They are a small non-profit children's museum. They have an event coming up on January 15, 2011 from 10am - 5pm where they will be showing young children how to build with legos, kapla blocks, lincoln logs and various other blocks and materials.  For more information:

Jessica Taylor
Education Coordinator
Wonder Works, A Children's Museum in Oak Park
6445 W North Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
ph. 708.383.4815
fx. 708.383.5730

Thursday, December 30, 2010

SEED Competition Deadline Approaching

Hopefully my last post got you intrigued enough to start poking around the web to find out what it was all about. If you don't know what I'm talking about it's probably because SEED is relatively new. SEED, Social Economic and Environmental Design, can be thought of as the social equivalent to LEED – get it? (my analogy). SEED is the brain-child of Bryan Bell, yes, THAT Bryan Bell of Design Corps. It was launched a few years ago and he is now developing it further as part of his research as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard. The inaugural SEED competition was launched this fall and the results will be announced at this year's SFI right here in Chicago. This is an incredible opportunity to be part of this exciting new program. If that isn't enough to get you going, here is a personal invitation from the indefatigable Monica Chadha:
On behalf of SEED and the SFI Steering Committee I would like to invite you to submit a community based project for the SEED Chicago Competition. SEED stands for Social Economic and Environmental Design and has been developed as a tool to allow community based projects a method to evaluate their impact, successes and lessons learned. The basic goals of SEED are to build a national network of resources; to provide a means to measure, evaluate and certify great community-based projects; and to celebrate the successes of these projects. While there are a number of evaluatory tools out there, SEED has been developed for the type of work you and your organization support.

SEED evaluation and certification will allow all of us to better promote our work, to apply for further funding opportunities and to share from each other’s experiences. SEED is aimed at providing recognition for all of the critical criteria in community based projects beyond sustainability. By nationally recognizing and certifying projects based in the community it is possible to convey the importance of this work to a wider audience. SEED is intended for all types or projects, whether a community initiative, a local planning project or a built structure to name a few.

In the Spring, Chicago will be hosting the national Structures for Inclusion Conference [SFI 10+1], a conference that celebrates community based projects and provides a place to discuss, learn, develop and share both the successes and challenges of this work. In advance of the conference, the Driehaus Foundation, among others, is supporting the chance to promote Chicago and Midwest projects; this is a perfect opportunity for projects like those you work on to be a model for others and find some recognition in the larger community based design field.

There are two parts to the applications process, which is explained in more detail on the website. The $25 competition entry fee will also count toward conference registration for one community partner. All projects entered that reflect SEED goals will be promoted nationally. The three winning projects of the Chicago Competition will receive a $1,000 honorarium and the opportunity to present at the SFI conference in March. All projects submitted will be showcased nationally on the website and through publication.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or to send any competition questions to Emily Axtman, Design Corps Fellow at The competition website can be found here:


Monica Chadha

SFI 10+1 Steering Committee
SEED Evaluator

Monday, December 6, 2010

Pecha Kucha Night This Tuesday

Poster by Aya Yamasaki.

Join Peter Exley and the gang for the final Pecha Kucha of the year (there won't be another until March).
The 16th installment of Pecha Kucha Night Chicago is this Tuesday, December 7th at Martyrs. Tickets are $10 at the door or online.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Networking Event for Students and Young Professionals

In case you've been living under a rock lately, which would explain my recent proclivity for scattered posting, the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is in Chicago this week. In association with the conference is the following networking opportunity in which our old friend Daniel Splaingard, Enterprise Rose Fellow for Bickerdike Redevelopment Corporation, will be presenting:
USGBC and Enterprise Community Partners cordially invite you to Take 5, a special event for students and young professionals.

Take 5 introduces a new and innovative style of presenting. Each speaker will have five minutes (300 seconds) to present, no more, no less. After all individuals have given their presentations, the audience will have five minutes to ask presenters any outstanding questions.

Attendees will have the opportunity to network with others both before, and after, presentations; you’ll also have the chance to give feedback to presenters.

This event includes an open bar and heavy hors d’ oeuvres.
You had me at open bar.

If there are any young prefessionals left out there spread the word.
Tuesday, November 16th
6 PM until 9 PM
Greenbuild International Conference and Expo
Room W196-B in McCormick Place
2301 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois
Please RSVP