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Credit: Mike Morgan

 

“Pro bono” is short for pro bono publico, a Latin phrase often taken to mean “for free,” but which, in fact, means “for the public good.” That distinction is important to John Cary, who, with the nonprofit group Public Architecture, edited The Power of Pro Bono: 40 Stories About Design for the Public Good by Architects and Their Clients. Yes, the architects of the collected projects—ranging from shipping-container eco-cabins for a Boy Scouts camp in California to a food-bank warehouse in Boston—donated design services, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars, so that their service-minded clients could achieve their goals. But what’s more important is that they were determined to create lively, dignified spaces that, in Cary’s words, “reflect and bolster the spirits of those who frequent them.” • $40; Metropolis Books