Ady Leverette was a designer and a principal at Fat Pencil Studio between 2011 and 2018.
I came across an article on Good Magazine’s website that caught my eye: Why ‘The Death of Architecture’ May Not Be Such a Bad Thing. As someone who graduated with an architecture degree in 2008–perhaps the worst time ever to get an architecture degree–I was eager to hear about how “the emerging field of public interest design” might overcome the many, many, many problems of the reportedly dying profession of architecture.
I’d never heard of “public interest design” as a field distinct from pro-bono work by architects or government-driven planning efforts. But the author claims that it is coming to fore with its “defiant rejection of architecture’s unsustainable ways” (take that, architecture!). He does note that public interest design efforts are currently “tiny and disparate,” meaning actual paying jobs in this area are scarce (so don’t get too excited, oh classmates of mine). But organizations like Public Interest Design show that the intersection between design and service is becoming more of a landmark in the greater design landscape.
Here in Portland, there are tons of public interest-minded designers that are actively working to improve the world around them. Architects Without Borders has a vibrant Oregon chapter. City Repair sponsors a number of community-oriented place-making projects.
(Image by Keith Van Allen as seen on Alliance to Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods)