In case you missed its official release last month, make sure to check out the 2011 Latrobe Prize Report, a study titled Public Interest Practices in Architecture published by a group of architectural researchers including one of our visiting faculty members, Sergio Palleroni.

As explained on the AIA website:

The 2011 Latrobe Prize was awarded toThe American Institute of Architects (AIA) College of Fellows 2011 Latrobe Prize for research consists of a $100,000 grant for research leading to significant advances in the architecture profession. The study investigated the needs that can be addressed by public interest practices and the variety of ways that public interest practices are operating.

Among the findings of the report is that public interest design is transforming architectural practices. This transformation to a more public interest model can be seen as a wide-spread response to the concern that the conventional model of practice responds solely to the paying client, limiting the profession’s capacity to address the problems of our time.

The 2011 Latrobe prize recipients and report authors are: Roberta Feldman, professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Sergio Palleroni, senior fellow for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions; David Perkes, AIA, director of Gulf Coast Community Design Studio at Mississippi State University; and Bryan Bell, executive director of Design Corps.

The report concludes with five recommendations:

1. Embrace and support a transformed profession

2. Communicate the profession’s public service values

3. Facilitate best public interest practices and strategies

4. Expand existing and attract new funding sources

5. Educate students and professionals about public interest design

The 2011 Latrobe Prize jury stated that the “research will help us understand and deal with the dramatic social, economic, environmental, and technological hangs that have occurred in the wake of the Great Recession….” They further commented that “many of the assumptions that have long guided the field of architecture no longer seem relevant to the challenges we now face not only as a profession and discipline, but as a civilization… Nor can we assume that the practices that have guided architectural practice in the 20th century will serve us in the 21st.”

The research team used three strategies — surveys, interviews and workshops — to collect relevant information from three perspectives: those of public interest practitioners, their partners, and general architectural practitioners.

In an attempt to gain a better understanding of public interest models and methods, the research team considered five questions:

  1. What is public interest design?
  2. What are the needs that are addressed by public interest practices?
  3. How are current public interest design practices operating?
  4. What strategies have proven effective?
  5. How can public interest design practices be sustained and expanded?

Access the full report here.


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