Bryan Bell founded the 501-c-3 organization Design Corps in 1991 with the mission is "to provide the benefits of architecture to those traditionally un-served by the profession."
Bell’s current work includes Public Interest Design, which he pursued as a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Business School. The resulting work includes a survey of the profession of AIA members with input from Dr. Howard Gardner. Additional research was funded through the 2011 Latrobe Prize awarded by the American Institute of Architects. The work is focused on a triple bottom line evaluation called the Social/Economic/Environmental Design (SEED) Evaluator. Bell co-founded and has helped organize the SEED Network which has over 3,500 members.
Bell’s initiatives to share ideas with the newest generation of architects led to series of seventeen annual conferences hosted at universities, Structures for Inclusion, a forum for students and recent graduates to learn about grass roots efforts making architecture more accessible. Selected presentations from these have been presented in three publications: Public Interest Design Practice Guidebook: SEED Methodology, Case Studies, and Critical Issues with Lisa Abendroth, Routledge, 2016; Expanding Design: Architecture as Activism, with Katie Wakeford, published by Metropolis Press in October 2008; and Good Deeds, Good Design, published by Princeton Architectural Press published in 2003. The Public Interest Design Education Guidebook will be published in 2018 by Routledge.
Public Interest Design is a term being that includes a field of work that is known by many names including community design, social design, humanitarian design, and pro bono. For the last ten years, evidence has been growing that this type of practice is growing and becoming an important means to serve those who have been traditionally not had access to the benefits of design. Specific projects and people have shown that design can address the most critical social, economic and environmental issues faced in the world today. As the field develops, we must learn what works and what fails to meet a level of ethical and professional standards that the public deserves. Using twelve years of research including the 2011 AIA Latrobe Prize, the presentation will include best practices and propose a systemic way forward that can maximize the public value of design.