Pro Bono / Blog

Designed for Habitat

Published August 24, 2012 in Community, Modern Design, Pro Bono, Staff, Charles Roberts, Sustainability

Our collaboration with Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity and Amherst College is featured in a new book, Designed for Habitat.

Village Health Works

Published July 26, 2012 in KRA Extracurricular, Pro Bono, Social Equity, Staff, Travel

Rachael Chase describes her upcoming trip to Burundi.

Last August, my brother David became the executive director of an amazing organization called Village Health Works, which is based between NYC and Kigutu, Burundi, Africa.

Burundi's Location

VHW’s mission is “to provide quality, compassionate health care in a dignified environment while treating the social determinants of illness, disease, violence and neglect in collaboration with those we serve.”  VHW was co-founded by Deo Niyizonkiza and Dziwe Ntaba, both of whom are doctors and have extraordinary connections to Africa and to Kigutu.  As the medical program in Burundi has grown, the need for a house for donors and visiting doctors to stay in while serving at the health clinic has grown.

For the last six months, I have been working with David and Deo to develop ideas for what this house could be.  This week, I have been given the amazing opportunity to go to Burundi to see the site and experience the culture, the people, and the VHW program.  This experience will shape the design of the house in every way - from the siting of the building, the connection and path to and from the health center, the slope of the land, the light and views, surrounding trees, materials, means of construction, how it will be used, and what the house will mean to so many different people.

Burundian Landscape

I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to engage, to contribute, and to have this experience and adventure.  I will be sharing my process through photographs, sketches, drawings, and writing as the house emerges and evolves.

The Next Generation

Published July 18, 2011 in Education, Pro Bono, Staff, Aelan Tierney, Elizabeth Morgan, Teaching

The UMASS Pre-College Summer Design Academy is open to students who have completed 8th grade through 12th grade and who are interested in design.  Working with practicing architects and UMASS faculty, they spend time designing furniture, rooms, buildings, and landscapes with a focus on the elements that are common to all design projects: space, light, structure, scale and site.

Last week, we were pleased to host them in our office as part of their Pre-Professional component in which students learn about applying to design programs for college, visit a construction site and an architect’s office, and find out how to put together a portfolio of their work. KRA’s Aelan Tierney discussed how she became an architect and what it is that we do all day. KRA’s Elizabeth Morgan showed the students around our office, a former movie theater that once served as stables for Amherst College.

Join them (and us!) on Facebook to see what students have been creating.