Design for all
Privilege and injustice have long been part of our social, economic and political systems. Acknowledging this reality is fundamental to designing an equitable and just future.
For us, that means employing a Living-Centered Design process that amplifies the voices of the diverse communities we’re designing for, so we can collectively create systems, spaces and structures that dismantle barriers to equity.
A clinic improving health outcomes for Black mothers. A courtroom designed to promote dignity and social justice. A mobile museum empowering people to stand up against hate. A strategy for providing supportive care to vulnerable and unhoused people. We’re still early in our journey, but we’re unrelenting in our drive to design for equity now.
Explore the ideas, people and projects pushing equitable design forward across our firm.
DEI and social impact used to be topics on the “softer” side of business, but as we look toward the future, a company’s commitment to equitable practices will determine its long-term viability, agnostic of industry. The level of awareness and demand for change at every level of community has been elevated and the time to act is now.Norman Miles, MHSA, MRECM Social Impact and DEI Consulting Leader
If you're not designing with an inclusive process, then you're not intentionally and actively being inclusive. If the right people aren't in the room, if you don't know what you don't know, then you aren't giving the project every opportunity to succeed for all it serves. Inclusion and inclusive design are completely interdependent.Marisa Nemcik, AIA, WELL AP Education
Advocating for equitable design is pivoting away from the notion that the way we design for the privileged few is fundamentally different than how we design for everyone else. Everyone should be entitled to good design. Everyone should be entitled to beautiful spaces—and we need to demonstrate that.Allison Mendez, AIA Design
More than 50 percent of college students feel excluded based on some aspect of their identity according to Hanover Research.
We worked with York University to address this reality by designing its second student center—one of the most inclusive education buildings in the world.
The process of designing the student center was completely driven by students, with more than 11,000 participating in the process. Their input led to a four-story building wholly dedicated to student-focused, student-run space.
Black women experience more than 2x the infant mortality rate than white women. In parts of St. Louis, the mortality rate is higher than it is in some third world countries.
We partnered with Jamaa Birth Village to upend these statistics with its new Equal Access Midwifery Clinic.
The brainchild and “heartchild” of Okunsola Amadou, the first Black Certified Professional Midwife in the state of Missouri, both spaces provide culturally-congruent traditional midwifery care. "People who come to Jamaa automatically feel a sense of relief, hope and joy. We've had people cry because they can't believe a center like this exists," said Okunsola.
1 in 44
The CDC reports that 1 in 44 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The CHOC Thompson Autism Center is one of only a few facilities in the country dedicated to diagnosing, managing and treating ASD.
“As the parent of an autistic son, I can tell you it’s a nightmare to try and find resources,” said Don Lawrence, a healthcare planner who helped design the clinic. “Intervention at a facility like this can make a huge difference in the lives of so many."
Our responsibility as a design firm is to create more equitable pathways to success for underrepresented groups. We do that with the equitable solutions we create, but also in the ways we champion an inclusive environment within our firm. We’ve made noteworthy progress on this long, complex journey, and we still have a long way to go.