MASS Design Group: Seeking Abundance
The U.S.- and Rwanda-based nonprofit collective shares its innovative practice model and design methodology.
November 29, 2022
Current Work is a lecture series featuring leading figures in the worlds of architecture, urbanism, design, and art.
The fall 2022 Current Work series examines projects and firms enacting new modes of architectural practice, collaboration, and community engagement.
MASS (Model of Architecture Serving Society) Design Group was founded in 2008 as a nonprofit organization with the mission to research, design, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. With offices across the U.S. and headquarters in Boston and Kigali, Rwanda, the organization traverses geographic, typological, and disciplinary boundaries. Since its founding, MASS has grown to a team of over 200 architects, landscape architects, engineers, builders, furniture designers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers representing 20 countries across the globe.
Recent projects include:
- The Rwanda Institute for Conservation Agriculture (RICA), a new academic campus that promotes biodiversity, ecological conservation, and community participation
- The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, a 12-acre multi-building campus in Rwanda constructed with local labor and materials
- The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the first national memorial to victims of lynching in the US.
MASS Design Group has received the 2022 AIA Architecture Firm Award, The Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Architecture Innovator award, and the Cooper Hewitt’s 2017 National Design Award in Architecture.
The program will begin with a moderated conversation featuring seven of MASS’s project leaders: Jha D Amazi, Christian Benimana, Jonathan Evans, Patricia Gruits, Jeffrey Mansfield, Jean Paul Sebuhayi Uwase, and Caitlin Taylor.
The conversation will be followed by an open Q&A with these 8 project leaders and an additional 15 of MASS’s principals, including Kelly Alvarez Doran, Justin Brown, Regina Chen, Rosie Goldrick, Christopher Kroner, Anton Larsen, Ashley Marsh, Sarah Mohland, Julie Rhoad, Alan Ricks, David Saladik, Adam Saltzman, Amie Shao, Katie Swenson, and Peter Torrebiarte.
Jha D Amazi is a principal in the Boston office and directs MASS’s Public Memory and Memorials Lab.
Christian Benimana is a senior principal and managing director in the Kigali office.
Jonathan Evans is a principal in the Boston office and leads the practice’s affordable housing portfolio.
Patricia Gruits is a senior principal and managing director, focused on supporting the MASS North American studio.
Jeffrey Mansfield is a principal in the Boston office and leads the group’s Deaf Space and Disability Justice Lab.
Jean Paul Sebuhayi Uwase is a principal in MASS’s Kigali office.
Caitlin Taylor is a principal in the Poughkeepsie office and directs the Food Systems Design Lab.
The program will be moderated by Quilian Riano. Riano is the interim dean of Pratt Institute’s School of Architecture and the founder and lead designer of DSGN AGNC. He is the vice president for architecture of The Architectural League of New York and a core member of Dark Matter University.
This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
The event is co-presented by The Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of The Cooper Union.