Jesse Han was awarded Honorable Mention in the Image of Research – Undergraduate Edition Competition for the research project titled “Analyzing Resources in Support of Public Interest Design” that she has been working on with Associate Professor Lynne Dearborn this semester. Ms. Han has also just returned from presenting the work at the Structures for Inclusion Conference in Portland, OR. Prof. Dearborn and Ms. Han are working together on the paper that will be published by Design Corps and the Center for Public Interest Design in the SFI proceedings, and are looking for other venues to publish this work.
The original image was taken from a design-build project in Arusha, Tanzania. Jesse, along with 20 other students, partnered with a local orphanage, Neema Village, to design and build a permanent home for the unadoptable children, where they could grow up with a family until adulthood. The project was a successful case study of what architecture can do when it considers the public’s interest from the beginning, throughout construction, and to occupancy. When designing, they considered the vernacular architecture along with the desires of the orphanage and learned building techniques from local craftsmen. The home is almost completely furnished and ready to house up to twelve children and a host family. Public Interest Design is a relatively new field within architecture which engages designers to use their skills to improve environments of underserved communities. Literature emerged in the form of websites, guidebooks, project analyses, and critical reflection, providing specific recommendations for practice and documenting case studies and methodologies. This paper presents the results of a comprehensive review of this literature to evaluate the breadth of existing resources for Public Interest Design and will explore how effectively the resources inform the public and train the next generation of public interest designers.