Portland State University

Portland State University

Portland, OR


Professor Sergio Palleroni recognized by Curry Stone Design Prize's 2017 Social Design Circle

By PSUArchitecture
May 18, '17 8:16 PM EST

The Curry Stone Design Prize has named Portland State University School of Architecture professor Sergio Palleroni a member of its 2017 Social Design Circle.

The Curry Stone Design Prize is awarded annually by the Curry Stone Foundation to recognize innovative designers, practitioners, and projects using design to address critical social justice issues and improve the daily living conditions in communities around the world. To celebrate the prize’s 10th anniversary, the Curry Stone Design Prize has formed the Social Design Circle, made up of global “visionaries, activists, and game changers” who are at the forefront of social design. The practices and projects of these Circle members will be highlighted on the Curry Stone Design Prize website throughout the year.

Palleroni is among 100 luminaries being recognized over the course of the year for their innovative work in social design, including Teddy Cruz and Fonna Forman of Estudio Cruz + Forman, Mark Lakeman of City Repair, El Equipo Mazzanti, Project H, the Rural Studio, and dozens of groundbreaking international practices. The Curry Stone Design Prize highlights Palleroni’s career as a designer and educator at

In conjunction with the formation of the Social Design Circle, the Curry Stone Design Prize has launched a weekly podcast, “Social Design Insights,” featuring interviews with leaders in the field of social and public interest design, including Sergio Palleroni. The podcast, which airs every Thursday, is co-hosted by Prize Director Emiliano Gandolfi and author, architect, and disaster-recovery expert Eric Cesal and delves into a series of 12 provocative, urgent questions on the subject of public interest design. The interview with Sergio Palleroni explores the question “Can we design community engagement?” and discusses his 30-year career in public interest design over the course of two podcasts (episodes 19 and 20).

Palleroni is a professor in the PSU School of Architecture and is the founder and director of its Center for Public Interest Design, which was created in 2013 and is the first of its kind in the nation. He is recognized by the Curry Stone Design Prize for his work in helping to found the field of public interest design, educating and inspiring generations of future socially engaged architects through design-build projects serving communities in India, Haiti, Mexico, Montana, Oregon, and other international locations. In addition to leading the nonprofit BASIC Initiative, Palleroni has also established the first Graduate Certificate in Public Interest Design, offered through the PSU School of Architecture and Center for Public Interest Design, the United States’ first academic certification in this burgeoning field.

Palleroni is “one of the pioneers of the practice,” says Emiliano Gandolfi, and “one of the initiators of the new wave of interest in how design can be more inclusive and just. And actually we mention him frequently as the ‘godfather of social impact design in the U.S.’ for his direct engagement in seeing design as a tool to promote social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and economic accessibility, not only as an architect but also making it a priority for universities . . . taking students directly to the field to learn by doing while building with marginalized communities.”

About the School of Architecture at Portland State University
The School of Architecture’s four-year bachelor’s degree, two-year accredited professional Master of Architecture and three-year track of the Master of Architecture emphasize focused study in architectural design, the humanities, tectonics and the profession, in a rich, design-based curriculum, as they prepare students for a career as a licensed architect. The Master of Architecture program concludes with the completion of a major design thesis study of individually inspired questions concerning architecture, culture and technology. The first of its kind in the United States, the Graduate Certificate in Public Interest Design is now offered through the School of Architecture’s Center for Public Interest Design.

About Portland State University (PSU)
Oregon's urban research university, recognized for excellence in sustainability and community engagement, is located in the heart of downtown Portland. PSU's motto is "Let Knowledge Serve the City," and it offers more than 200 degrees with opportunities to work with businesses, schools and organizations on real-world projects.

Media Contact: Karen O’Donnell Stein,, 503.725.8422