Design as an Act of Service

By Designer, Aliyah D. White.

As a firm, we practice design as an act of service. We work closely together with our clients to create projects that are completely custom and unique to their needs. Well-rounded and well-designed projects should aim to better people’s lives by taking in their ideas and input. As designers and architects, we are driven by the passion of using our skills to help people better their environments. Practicing design as an act of service means meeting our clients where they are, working hard to understand their needs, and leading with empathy and patience to help bring their visions to life. These are the projects that have the power to truly connect people and meaningfully better their environment. Here are a few examples of projects we designed with this in mind!

 Church Street Townhomes

Church Street Townhomes exterior

The Church Street Townhomes project in Christiansburg, Virginia was developed by Habitat for Humanity in New River Valley. Working together with Habitat for Humanity has been a valuable part of us reaching our goal of building strong communities and it is always a pleasure working with an organization that shares our values. The seven conjoined townhomes are fully accessible for people of all abilities and EarthCraft and Energy-Star certified.

 

Speech and Language Center

Speech and Language Center outside ramp

The Speech and Language Center in Harrisonburg, Virginia came to us with a very particular problem. The client needed to grow the functional space of the building while only being able to add a few feet to two sides of the building. We worked closely with the client and the builder to expand the space and were able to successfully deliver the right solution for this business to continue to grow and thrive. Teamwork makes the dream work!

 

Eastern Mennonite School

Eastern Mennonite School

The Eastern Mennonite School in Harrisonburg, Virginia was a renovation project aimed at converting a three-story office building into an elementary school. The project focused specifically on sustainable practices and creation care, which was important to our non-profit client. We worked together with the teachers, administration, and students at the school to create a space that would enhance the learning environment.

 

When engaging a client in the design process it is important for us to make sure they feel heard and know we are here to support them and what they want for the future of their space. We encourage all potential, current, and past clients to engage in conversations with us about what they want for themselves, and their communities, and how we can help them get there. Being in constant conversation with the people we serve is important to us, and we also can do community presentations to share our wealth of knowledge and help advance people’s community building. Including the community in the design process is an invaluable learning opportunity and allows for a greater capacity to make meaningful changes with architecture. Using design as an act of service looks like giving tools to people who do not have them and listening to their wants and needs.

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