Kounkuey Design Initiative and Low Design Office

Join us for the second night of the 2021 Emerging Voices series.

March 18, 2021
6:00 p.m.

Left: Kounkuey Design Initiative | Play Streets, Los Angeles, CA, ongoing. Image courtesy Kounkuey Design Initiative. Right: LowDO | Guadalupe River House, New Braunfels, TX. Image credit: Casey Dunn.

The Architectural League’s annual Emerging Voices program spotlights North American architects, landscape architects, and urban designers who have significant bodies of realized work and the potential to influence their field.

Kounkuey Design Initiative was founded in 2006 by a group of Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) students as a community development and design nonprofit. Cofounder and executive director Chelina Odbert leads a multidisciplinary team with offices in Los Angeles, Eastern Coachella Valley, Nairobi, and Stockholm. The firm structure includes four service areas: Design + Build, Plan + Program, Advocate + Educate, and Research + Test. KDI has pioneered participatory models of planning and design, following its guiding philosophy: “to create meaningful opportunities for diverse groups to share decision making power in the processes that will shape their neighborhoods.” The lecture will be presented by Odbert and associate director Joe Mulligan.

Ryan Bollom and DK Osseo-Asare co-founded Low Design Office in Austin, Texas, and Tema, Ghana, in 2006. Their work is guided by the principle that transformative innovation “most often originates when the creator must overcome limited means and resources to provide meaning in their work.” Working in the US and Africa, the firm strives to deliver high-impact design through “low-resource, low-tech, low-carbon strategies,” with the goal of achieving an integrative systems approach to building in a process that bridges design and construction—what they call “low design,” realizing more with less.

The presentations will be followed by a conversation with Paul Lewis, partner at LTL Architects, professor and associate dean at Princeton University School of Architecture, and president of The Architectural League of New York.



Emerging Voices is generously supported by Elise Jaffe + Jeffrey Brown. The Emerging Voices program is also supported by the Next Generation Fund of The Architectural League. Architectural League programs are additionally supported, in part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.