The AIA’s 2011 Latrobe Prize has been awarded to a team investigating “Public Interest Practice in Architecture.” The $100,000 grant goes to Bryan Bell, executive director of Design Corps; Roberta Feldman, professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; Sergio Palleroni, senior fellow for the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at Portland State University; and David Perkes, AIA, director of Gulf Coast Community Design Studio at Mississippi State University. The team“will investigate the needs that can be addressed by public interest practices and the variety of ways that public interest practices are operating,” according to the AIA.

The group sees opportunity in the current high employment within the profession—and is quite challenging in its project abstract. “In its current state, the field of architecture would benefit and be more useful is a significant segment reconfigured from client-driven practices to a needs-driven segment of architectural practice,” they write. The group intends to develop a Needs-Driven Practice Guide to facilitate this transition. “At a time when billions of people around the world have a dire need for architectural services without the ability to pay the fees, the development of a public-interest practice manual may be one of the most urgent tasks facing the profession,” jury chair Thomas Fisher, Assoc. AIA, said.

This year’s Latrobe Prize jury: Thomas Fisher, Assoc. AIA, University of Minnesota; Peter Bohlin, FAIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Sheila Kennedy, AIA, Kennedy Violich Architects; Henry Koffman, University of Southern California; Sharon Sutton, FAIA, University of Washington; Chet Widom, FAIA, chancellor, College of Fellows; and Norman Koonce, FAIA, vice chancellor, College of Fellows.