Gensler firm associate Laura Crescimano, Assoc. AIA, writes in the San Francisco Chronicle that she wants more from public service design work. And she’s not interested in telling a story of volunteerism, but rather one of good design that also serves the public’s best interests. The idea of designing for the is an area “overdue to go mainstream,” she writes. Crescimano points out that this type of architecture is a largely untapped market that, if taken advantage of, would benefit both the industry professionals and the surrounding community members. Using the example of the Mass Design Group, a Boston-based nonprofit design partnership that helped design a state-of-the-art healthcare facility in Rwanda, Crescimano discusses the merits of architects’ involvement in humanitarian work. “Through the design process, MASS discovered that architecture was ‘not only not a piece of the solution, but a part of the problem,’ ” she writes. Working in collaboration with infectious disease specialists from a healthcare nonprofit, the team was able to create new ways to naturally ventilate the hospital and layout the beds for optimal patient recovery, all through design work.
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