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In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility

cartoon - raised hand: what does society require of its architects today
Exhibition Opening:
February 21, 2019
Exhibition Closing:
April 21, 2019

In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility

Public interest design is re-positioning the architectural profession to address the social, political, and environmental issues of the 21st century through community-engaged design. This shift in practice advances the notion that architecture is not only a built product, but a collective process that instills the tools, awareness, and imagination for individuals to improve their lives.

In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility exhibition will showcase six innovative architectural practices reimaging the architect’s contribution toward the public good. The selected projects will offer unique perspectives on the value of a community-engaged design process and the expanding nature of practice while presenting new methods for the profession to design with Boston’s communities.

Expressed primarily as photo journalism, the exhibition is based on the 2017 winning proposal of AIA Seattle's Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship, "Public Interest: Redefining the Architect's Role in and Responsibility to Society" by Garrett Nelli AIA. In 2017, Garrett traveled to Los Angeles, New Orleans, Alabama, Haiti, Spain, and Italy to catalog how design can be a catalyst for positive societal change. 

Additional media and programming will explore the outcomes of traveling scholarships such as AIA Seattle's Emerging Professionals Travel Scholarship and The Rotch Travelling Scholarship, administered by the Rotch Trustees and the Boston Society of Architects/AIA. What can be uniquely discovered by designers stimulated by travel at the outset of their careers? Why is this discovery important?

The exhibition will also feature an infographic representing the results of a survey asking Boston-area residents to identify their own community's pressing need for public interest design, and a photographic roundup of public interest design projects in Boston, or elsewhere, if by Boston architects. 

Don't miss the opening reception for In the Public Interest at 6:00 pm on Thursday, February 21, 2019. This special event is an opportunity to explore the exhibition while enjoying complimentary drinks and hors d'oeuvres.

Your chance to be featured in In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility


Survey: How can design improve your community?

Share how public interest design could improve your community in this quick three-question survey and see your answers represented in In the Public Interest

Take the survey here!

Call for projects: Community-engaged design

BSA Space’s Spring 2019 exhibition explores public interest design and seeks to include professional, high-quality photographs of projects that have successfully implemented a community-engaged design process. Photography that includes program users and suggests a narrative are of special interest.

Anyone is eligible to submit. Built and unbuilt projects are eligible.

Where must eligible projects be located?

  • Projects by New England archiecture and planning professionals may be located anywhere.
  • Projects by others must be located in New England.

How images will be used
Images will be presented digitally on monitors set up throughout BSA Space and will be on view through the run of the exhibition, February 21 to April 21, 2019. Images will not be altered without consent, but may be embedded within a particular framework representative of BSA Space branding (e.g. image embedded between black top and bottom bands, in which identifying language is placed).

Photos may appear in digital (website/social media) or print promotion of this or other exhibitions at BSA Space; in any instance of use, image credits (firm, project, and photographer) will be included.

Deadline to submit is January 21, 2019, 11:00 PM. The deadline has been extended from the initial cutoff of January 15.

Price to submit: Free and open to all.

What to submit
If your firm wishes to participate in this crowd-sourced exhibit for In the Public Interest: Redefining the Architect’s Role and Responsibility, please include the following:

  • Up to five (5) images (300 dpi, 2000 px width minimum) of each project
  • Building/Program type  
  • Project name
  • Project location
  • Architect Firm
  • Client
  • Photographer
  • Text file with 50-word or fewer project description
  • Contact for submission (name, phone number, email)

How to submit
Upload all files HERE by January 21, 2019. Please include your firm name in all file names.

Questions? Write