At LIVE! Event in NYC, Designers Give a Damn

At LIVE! Event in NYC, Designers Give a Damn

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Nov 10, 2011
  • comments

"Events like these are why I get out of bed in the morning.”
– Amy King, Director, USGBC Leadership Institute, U.S. Green Building Council

Architecture for Humanity's annual humanitarian design conference on Oct. 21-22 packed the house with designers, architects and community activists who shared their projects that are making waves in the design world and who learned from expert panelists on the cutting edge of community development.

The opening event for Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! 2011 featured speakers whose projects are included in the second edition of our book, Design Like You Give a Damn. The Saturday forum boasted an all-day Design Open Mic (check out a video clip and the winning presentations) and panel discussions on "Disaster Response and Reconstruction", "Investing in Social and Sustainable Real Estate", and "Greening Our Schools".

Architecture for Humanity Design Fellow Luvuyo Mfungula, based in South Africa, was among the Architecture for Humanity design fellows, staff and chapter members who flew in from around the world to attend the two-day conference in New York City. He adeptly captured the atmosphere, "I can honestly say that the whole event is packed with energy and one can feel the passion in the atmosphere when like-minded people come together to share ideas, advocating good design that positively impacts the lives of those who would otherwise not be privileged enough to be exposed to it." The following video highlights that energy and passion:

Opening Event
At the opening event on Friday evening at the Steelcase Showroom, nearly three hundred attendees heard from Cook+Fox Architects founding partner, Rick Cook, Conflict and Security Consultant, Francisco Rodriguez-Caicedo, SHoP Architects founder, Chris Sharples, and artistic creator of the Favela Painting Project in Rio de Janeiro, Dre Urhahn.


Attendees listen to opening event presentations at the Steelcase Showroom, NYC
Photo courtesy of Yutaka Takiura

Design Open Mic
The following day, hundreds more people streamed into the Center for Architecture from noon until the closing cocktail reception. Three dozen of those attending the conference presented their projects at the Design Open Mic. The on-going seven minute presentation format, similar in style to Pecha Kucha - or 20 seconds per 20 slides - kept the audience engaged and the presenters on their toes. Presenter Lucas London said, "The energy of back-to-back presentations, with words and images trimmed to fit time, fills the room with focused inspiration." You can see Pouya Khazaeli's inspired presentation, "Bamboo Structure", below.


Pouya Khazaeli from Iran presents his "Bamboo Structure" project
Photo courtesy of Yutaka Takiura

Event Panels
As the Design Open Mic continued throughout the day, there were three hour-long panel discussions with Q&A from the audience.

Jason Schupbach, Director of Design from the National Endowment for the Arts who moderated the real estate panel said, "Serving as a panel moderator at Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! opened my eyes to what's happening in the field of humanitarian design today and the intersections between commercial and not-for-profit development. The panelists spoke to some of the most pressing issues facing the field."

Among the panelists were the Global Director of Sustainability from Prudential Real Estate Investors, the Vice President from the Community Development Finance Group at Deutsche Bank, the Executive Director of the Make It Right Foundation, and the Director of the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council. Those attending were able to gain hands-on knowledge from the panelists by sitting down in small group workshop sessions following the panels.


"Greening Our Schools" Panel Discussion
Photo courtesy of Yutaka Takiura

The event came to a dramatic close with the announcement of the Design Open Mic winners and the presentation of prizes, courtesy of our event sponsors. Check out the winners' presentations and a video of highlights from the open mic.

What participants have to say:
Attendees used words such as "inspiring", "informative" and "energizing" to describe this year's Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! They went away with hands-on knowledge of how to move the field of humanitarian and community-led design forward. One guest said it made him feel more connected and that he had studied architecture to do that very kind of work.


Architecture for Humanity Bogota Chapter Member
Photo courtesy of Yutaka Takiura

The host of the Saturday forum, Rick Bell, Executive Director of AIA New York and the Center for Architecture, said, "In the eight years that the AIANY’s Center for Architecture has been open, there has been no program quite comparable to Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! What Architecture for Humanity does, day in and day out, came together in two days of intense discussion about why architecture and design make a difference in the world and how change comes about."

Architecture for Humanity is already looking forward to Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! 2012. We hope you, too, will join us to share your ideas and learn from others who are improving the world, one design, one project, one community at a time.