Alison Katz

Alison Katz

Pittsburgh, PA, US

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My goal is to enact permanent change that creates an environment emphasizing equity through justice, empathy, and urban landscapes.

We are at an incredible moment in history, it gives me a lot of hope that we will see prolonged, expanded engagement in social equity and racial justice work. Performative activism in the design word is equal to good intentions alone. Through design our goal must be justice and direct impact. Combining the efforts of design thinking and political action is how architects can make real, lasting, and intentional change. A love of art, science, activism, and humanitarianism is what lead me to study architecture. My original goal was to become an expert in environmental sustainability, but I have learned that sustainability is not enough. For the design fields to create work that benefits all people, it must not only focus on the environment, the community must be involved with the design process. 



Rachel Carson Ecovillage - Outdoor Common Space Study, Pittsburgh, PA, US, Researcher

We studied the methods in which a designer can approach planning the common outdoor space with future residents. This begins to suggest the possibility of sociocratic ties to ecology and community building within an alternative method of working and scope for designers.

Organized and ran workshops, created and distributed surveys, interviewed potential future ecovillagers
Authored research report and design objectives

Jun 2020 - Aug 2020

The American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), Pittsburgh, PA, US, Volunteer

AIAS Alumni Mentorship Program (Mentor for Auburn University) (2020-2021)
National Freedom By Design Advisory Committee (FBDAC) Co-Chair (2019-2020)
National FBDAC Member (2018-2020)
National FBD Live Task Force Member (2019-2020)
National AIAS Learning and Teaching Policy Committee Member (2019-2020)
CMU FBD Director (2018-2019)
CMU FBD Development Manager (2017-2018)
CMU FBD Founder (2016)
CMU AIAS Secretary (2016 - 2017)
CMU AIAS Northeast Quad Conference Public Interest Design Chair (2015-2016)

Aug 2015 - Aug 2020

Carnegie Mellon University - School of Architecture, Pittsburgh, PA, US, Student Worker

Virtual Task Force Event and Programming Lead (4/2020 - 5/2020)
Wood Shop Monitor (8/2019 - 5/2020)

Teaching Assistant:
Structures (8/2018 - 5/2019)
Slack (8/2017 - 5/2018)
Freshman Seminar (8/2016 - 5/2017)

Student Advisory Council (2017-2020)
Student Portfolio Reviewer (2019-2020)

Aug 2016 - May 2020

Urban Design Build Studio, Pittsburgh, PA, US, Research Designer

We collaborated within this Public Interest Design studio focused on the development and construction of a replicable housing prototype with the aim of deconcentrating poverty through both built and systematic intervention.

Designed within the 2018-2019 UDBS Cohort
(Academic Studio Fall 2018 - Spring 2019 + Summer 2019 Internship)
Produced Construction Documents
Prototyped Assemblies and Details

Aug 2018 - Aug 2019

bcWORKSHOP, Houston, TX, US, Architectural Intern

Assisted in competition entries
Produced marketing material, construction drawings, and kept website up to date
Facilitated community meetings detailing aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

Jun 2018 - Aug 2018

Architexx, Pittsburgh, PA, US, Writer

NOW WHAT?! Advocacy, Activism, And Alliances In American Architecture
Since 1968

Authored the article
“The Memorial for Peace and Justice”

Jun 2018 - Jun 2018

Fukui Architects, Pittsburgh, PA, US, Architectural Intern

Summer 2016 + 2017
Analyzed sites and programming for residential and commercial projects
Produced presentation materials and construction drawings

May 2017 - Aug 2017


Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA, US, BArch, Bachelor of Architecture

Minor of Social and Political History

Jan 2015 - May 2020


Senior Leadership Recognition, Award


NOMA-NAACP-SEED Award for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Design, Award

The Weatherization Kit Project completed with Freedom By Design is the recipient of this award.

Based on common foundations and a shared vision, NOMA, NAACP, and the SEED Network announce Awards for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) in design, architecture, and land development. Seven projects have been selected through a competitive and by a distinguished jury. Each winning project will present their work at the NOMA National Virtual Conference on October 17, 2020.


Alwin Cassens Jr Memorial Fund, Award


Freedom By Design Top 15: Founder's Choice, Award

The award was for the FBD Weatherization Kit Project and its recognition as one of the most successful Freedom By Design Projects since the program's founding 15 years ago.


Alwin Cassens Jr Memorial Fund, Award


Epic Metals Competition Finalist, Honorable Mention


Areas of Specialization