The Architecture of Life: Healing Homes and AIA Design Voice

The Architecture of Life - Christopher K. Travis

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Healing Homes and AIA Design Voice

I'm very excited about work being done in Austin by the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and their new intiative, Design Voice. The initiative was created by Eva Schone, Greg Esparza and A.I.A. President Stephen Oliver no longer than two months ago and now their are over 51 members and it is growing fast.

The group - which I am honored to serve as a member of its Steering Committee - has the following mission:

"AIA DESIGN VOICE enables the greater design community to connect and collaborate with organizations and individuals interested in and engaged in housing advocacy, development and community building in Austin."

Great group of active, concerned people out to make a real difference! Design Voice is hosted by Real Community, a "growing network of individuals and organizations committed to a collaborative, artful approach to 'building community'. That group now has 279 members, also growing by leaps and bounds.

My new Healing Homes initiative is one of the volunteer projects hosted by Real Community and supported by Design Voice.

The intention of that project is " use our existing Truehome techniques - and by collaboration develop new approaches - that allow therapists, social workers, psychologists and others to collaborate with architects and interior designers to develop criteria for design that helps low-income families use their housing to focus their attention on life goals, including sustainable lifestyle and well-being."

Austin is something else. It was only in the last few months that I began to re-engage in that community, even though our firm has an office there.

In the last two months I have been meeting people at the University of Texas, in the architecture and interior design communities, and now in the technology and startup communities.

Without exception I have been impressed by both the business and the social entrepreneurship that has long been a hallmark of the Austin community.

Not only is the town full of incredibly smart and capable people, lots of them are actively making a difference in the lives of others. It is really inspiring!