Most architectural practice is similar to the practices of physicians and lawyers, in that professionals work mainly with clients - wealthy individuals, corporations, institutions, and governments-who can afford to pay professional fees and who receive, in exchange, highly customized responses to their specific needs.  In architecture, this form of practice has led to the design and construction of many visually powerful and functionally successful buildings, but it also greatly limits the number and types of people served by the profession....architects directly affect only about 2 to 5 percent of all that gets built, which hardly makes a dent in the requirement that we, as licensed professionals, attend to the public’s health, safety, and welfare.  Expanding Architecture: Design as Activism, Thomas Fisher

It has been common in the medical and law professions to provide pro bono services to individuals, communities, and organizations for decades. However, it has only become a more common effort in the architectural community in the last 10 - 15 years. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of architects like Bryan Bell, the founder of Design Corps, and John Cary, an advocate of public interest design, the notion of serving those in need has now become a major sector of the design community.

However, there has still been a challenge to convince both clients and donors that design will be the most valuable use of funding. A common thought is that organizations shouldn’t invest time or money into well designed facilities as this shifts the focus from their primary work and doesn’t ultimately advance their mission. However, good and thoughtful design can do precisely that.


Part of the focus at Inscape Publico is to provide design services that will help non-profit organizations to realize their mission. Whether it is to design housing or renovate a non-profits’ offices, the value of design is found in the excited soul, sense of wonder and comfort and reprieve that is created in the well designed space.

REPAIR THE WORLD: design by Inscape Publico

John Cary says it well in the Power of Pro Bono. “When planned with their ultimate users in mind, spaces become more than bricks and mortar and glass and steel; they become incubators for serving, working, learning and loving. This is what architecture is all about - providing spaces that empower people to live their best lives.”

Over the past year Inscape Publico has created designs for Repair the World, Children’s Defense Fund, Arlington Food Assistance Center, HIPS and Mi Casa to name a few. Providing services for these projects, Inscape Publico has demonstrated the value of design to these organization. 

Having the ability to implement powerful design, each of these organizations have the opportunity to better serve. 

- Post by Michelle Bove