A comprehensive report on the research into current public interest practices in architecture has recently been released and is now available at www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/document/aiab099531.pdf
The research was funded by the 2011 Latrobe Research Prize $100,000 grant, awarded by the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects. 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.
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 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 report concludes with five recommendations:
In an attempt to gain a better understanding of public interest models and methods, the research team considered five questions:
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.