Last week, I spent Friday attending the Design Like You Give a Damn: Live! conference run by Architecture for Humanity. This year’s event, hosted at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco, shared stories surrounding the theme (an ever popular one) of resiliency. I attended open mic sessions highlighting successful projects and initiatives from across the globe as well as panels on population shocks, active spaces and resilient cities. But most excitingly, I was invited to attend the award ceremony for the Curry Stone Design Prize. Hosted Thursday evening, it was a remarkably emotional ceremony honoring three unbelievable organizations designing in the most poverty stricken and vulnerable communities on the planet with awards totaling $120,000. Below are some thoughts on what I absorbed.
What are the greatest challenges CannonDesigners will solve?
The conversation was ripe with discussion from leading firms across the country as well as quiet practioners, all who are making significant steps towards resolving great societal challenges. So I couldn’t help but wonder: since we say we will solve the great challenges facing our clients and society, what are the specific challenges that really matter to us? To you?
Clifford Curry and Delight Stone are remarkable, quiet leaders and we must nurture a generation of designers who will follow in their footsteps.
The story I’ve heard goes that Cliff Curry, a residential architect, grabbed the founders of Architecture for Humanity, Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair after a presentation they gave at an AIA convention and said, “you just gave me an idea.” He and his wife Delight Stone went on to found the Curry Stone Foundation and its prize:
The Curry Stone Design Prize was founded in 2008 by Clifford Curry and Delight Stone to promote and honor designers who address critical social needs. The prize champions the belief that design can be a powerful force for improving lives and strengthening communities.
Their new branding, designed by Pentagram, highlights the strength of the prize: its 23 videos featuring every award winner.
We don’t die like we used to.
A pretty simple statement made by Nina Baird, a professor at Carnegie Mellon studying the urban impacts of population shocks reminded me that indeed our growing planet population is largely driven by the fact that we live longer and not because more babies are born. And others commented about the complex relationship between people and environment. Phil Longman with the New American Foundationremarked:
“Even though there has been a drop in fertility, there’s been an increase in carbon intake”
“Density is best for environmental impacts but what will particulate matter increases do to public health”
Fascinating stat: Russia is loosing an estimated 600,000 people each year in total population. However, Moscow has grown from roughly 7 million people in the 1980′s to what is estimated to actually be 18 million (many inhabitants of the city are undocumented) today.
A dream you dream alone is only a dream.
Sandeep Virmani, a leader of the Hunnar Shaala Foundation in India, reminded me of this great John Lennon lyric. A Curry Stone Design Prize winner working in Bhuj, India Sandeep’s team was born after the 2001 Kutch earthquake with an objective to build capacity for people to reconstruct their own habitat. Using artisan knowledge to build more resilient societies, Hunnar Shaala has helped the reemergence of traditional building techniques which were safer, more robust ways to build back and which empowered local communities to do the rebuilding themselves. Brilliant work being done here, and beautiful work to boot. You can watch the video of their work and other winners here.
Nina - 24 Feb 2014
How many speakers total were installed?
max - 02 Feb 2014
*faceplam* ugh... i hate it when arrogant New Yorkers go on and on about ho...
Sergey Alexeev - 01 Feb 2014
The task of modern architecture, just like thousands of years ago, remains ...
Aven - 06 Jan 2014
Woo, looking great, but I think the second view, it's not good to see a dar...
Syed Khundmir - 30 Dec 2013
Looks like a cool place to work for and develop as an engineer. The interns...