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Practice-Based Research: Patricia Gruits

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Patricia Gruits
principal and managing director, MASS Design Group

Lightning presentation
9:00 am - 9:15 am EDT
Purpose Built

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Patricia Gruits is a Senior Principal with MASS Design Group leading both design and research projects in health, education, and equity. Since joining MASS in 2013, she has led the design of the Maternity Waiting Village in Malawi with the Malawi Ministry of Health, the African Leadership University, a series of primary schools in East Africa with the African Wildlife Foundation and the MSquared Foundation, and the development the Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Currently, Patricia leads design and research initiatives at MASS with a focus on planning, design, and evaluation. Her work is aimed at engaging and empowering stakeholders in the design process; supporting and substantiating the impact of design on health, social, and environmental outcomes; and translating research into design strategies and decision-making. She has coordinated the creation of the Purpose Built series— a set of tools for creating impact-driven design— and has implemented this approach in the design of affordable housing, healthcare, and urban design projects around the globe.

Patricia has also managed a range of design projects aimed at proving the impact of the built environment on individual and community health in the United States, including a collaboration with the mayor’s working group to address issues of homelessness, addiction and recovery in Boston and partnered with community development corporations to create affordable and supportive housing. Patricia collaborated with the Joint Center of Housing Studies at Harvard to create guidelines for Safe Interaction in Senior Affordable Housing in response to COVID-19, and has lectured at the Harvard School of Public Health as a part of the USAID sponsored Airborne Infection Control course.

She has taught design studios focusing on social impact at the Boston Architectural College and RISD. Her work has been published in journals of architecture and health and was recently awarded the “Top 40 under 40” for Sustainable Design by Impact Design Hub.