Design for Freedom | Pilot Projects

Newly Announced Projects | Projects in Progress

Finished Projects & Case Studies | Other Projects

2025 Pilot Project RFP Open Call

Pilot Projects are the next step in the Design for Freedom movement.

As early adopters of Design for Freedom, Pilot Project teams accelerate the movement by raising awareness of the pressing humanitarian issue of forced labor in the building materials supply chain.

Together, Grace Farms Foundation and these Pilot Projects are initializing transparent and forced labor free supply chains and demonstrating design principles in action by creating a tangible example of a more humane built environment. Spanning the U.S., the U.K., and India, each of these projects is, or will be, open and accessible to the public.

Newly Announced Pilot Projects

NEW | Karsh Institute of Democracy University of Virginia

Charlottesville, VA

Size: 69,320 GSF
Completion: 2026
Program: Auditorium, Classrooms, Research, Media Production

Project Team:

University of Virginia
Höweler + Yoon
Hanbury Architects
Hourigan Construction

Project Description

The Karsh Institute of Democracy building is envisioned as a vibrant, continually active place. Situated within the Ivy Corridor, the building’s elevated position above a designed stream corridor and outdoor gathering spaces will make it the western visual terminus for this new redevelopment site on the University of Virginia Grounds.
The new building will be home to the University of Virginia’s Karsh Institute of Democracy. It will also be the new facilities for UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, ensuring cross-pollination of ideas and initiatives.

The eastern façade features a subtle curve that both signals the main entrance and acts as a beacon to the rest of the site. The building is anchored by large, carved cornerstones that visually ground the building and share in the curve of the façade. Each façade features panels spaced at a regular rhythm.
The landscape comprises a broad paved promenade, a tree-lined central green, and integrated building entrance. Exterior materials, such as brick, reference the architectural history of the University while developing a new visual language for the Institute. The columnar precast facade frames the warm cherry wood drum that clads a state-of-the-art auditorium, a centerpiece of the facility.

NEW | Hunger Busters

Image courtesy HKS

Dallas, Texas

Size: 16,000 sf
Completion: 2025
Project Type: Food Service/Workplace

Project Team:

Hunger Busters
DBR Engineering
Young Caruso Food Service and Consultants

Project Description

Hunger Busters is a transformative initiative aimed at alleviating food insecurity among the students of the Dallas Independent School District. With nearly two-thirds of DISD’s students facing food insecurity daily, Hunger Busters, a nonprofit meal provider program established in 2012, has been serving freshly prepared dinners to 4,500 DISD students each school day. Following a setback due to a break-in that resulted in the loss of equipment and food supplies, Hunger Busters seized the opportunity to launch a capital campaign for an ambitious expansion project.

The project, rooted in community engagement, growth, access, holistic well-being, collaborative incubation, and sustainability, will result in a facility situated in the vibrant La Bahara neighborhood of Dallas, Texas. The design serves as a model of circularity by utilizing excess food from local sources to provide nutritious meals for students while minimizing waste, generating energy, and integrating a rainwater collection system for native landscapes and a chef’s garden. To accomplish this pioneering project, the supply chain will incorporate innovative anaerobic digestors to transform food waste into renewable energy and biofertilizer. Additionally, it will include a solar panel roof covering 60% of the surface area, mass timber construction, concrete, exterior stone and metal, textiles and more.

Hunger Busters partnered with HKS through Citizen HKS, HKS’ public design initiative. Established in 2014 with a core mission of enhancing lives and communities, Citizen HKS harnesses the power of design, volunteerism, and financial philanthropy to uplift communities and drive positive change. This initiative adheres to rigorous design standards, prioritizing a people-centered approach and emphasizing the intersectionality between environmental and social design.

Read a Q and A with HKS’ Yiselle Santos Rivera, Lisa Adams and Rand Ekman as they share more about Design for Freedom and their Pilot Project that is being designed by a Citizen HKS team.

NEW | Carnegie Global Ethics Hub

Image courtesy MBB Architects and Carnegie Global Ethics Hub

New York, NY

Size: 13,900 sf
Completion: 2027
Project Type: Institutional
Program: 60-person Event Space, Meeting Rooms, Offices, Outdoor Terrace, and Support Spaces

Project Team:

MBB Architects
Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Project Description

The Carnegie Global Ethics Hub reimagines two connected townhouses currently occupied by Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. To support the organization’s mission and identity as a hub for global dialogue, MBB Architects is designing a renovation that will reconfigure the interiors to create a dynamic gathering/event space, foster collaboration, and improve accessibility. Advancing the Design for Freedom movement, the design will prioritize sustainable and ethically sourced building materials. The new Hub will provide a more generous spatial experience to visitors and staff alike through improved daylighting, a reconceived circulation core, modernized work environments, integrated physical and virtual spaces, a renovated terrace, and a balance of historic and contemporary elements. A new one-story addition will serve as a short-term stay studio apartment for distinguished visiting scholars and speakers.

NEW | Humanscale Showroom

Chicago, IL

Size: 4,000 GSF
Completion: 2024
Project Type: Retail

Project Team:

The Sheward Patnership

Project Description

Nestled in the vibrant Fulton Market District in Chicago, Humanscale’s new street-level showroom is not just a destination for industry insiders but invites passersby to immerse themselves in the brand’s unwavering commitment to ergonomic design, wellness, and sustainability.

Designed in collaboration with renowned architect Suchi Reddy, the showroom features Humanscale’s diverse range of products that elevate work life and leave a positive impact on the world. The space itself is Living Building Challenge-certified—a reflection of the brand’s commitment to doing more good than harm. This certification validates that the space not only meets but exceeds the highest standards of environmental performance.

From innovative office solutions that prioritize well-being to a space that embodies eco-conscious choices, Humanscale invites you to witness a new era in design where functionality, beauty, and planet positivity thrive in harmony.

NEW | Bigfork Library

Image Credit: © Cushing Terrell

Bigfork, Montana

Size: 6,000 GSF
Completion: 2024
Project Type: Civic

Project Team:

Cushing Terrell
ImagineIF Library Foundation

Project Description

The Bigfork Library will support the rural community of Bigfork, MT, located in the greater Flathead Valley near Glacier National Park. Nestled at the northeast end of Flathead Lake, the town of Bigfork has a population of just under 5000 people. Surrounded by mountains, lakes and rivers, the town’s main street is filled with galleries and restaurants reflecting the residents’ deep appreciation for music, theatre, and fine art. Despite the many things Bigfork has to offer, a library remained a desperate need until this project’s inception.

In 2018, a committed group of volunteers at ImagineIf Library Foundation took the first step to realize this community library and purchased a 6000 square foot former church rec hall. The dream was to see it converted into a dynamic 21st century library for the Bigfork community. After a series of challenges familiar to any non-profit organization and a global pandemic, the design finally began in early 2023. Working closely with ImagineIf Library Foundation, Cushing Terrell is honored to play a role in realizing this community’s dream.

For an organization that values such holistic education and lifelong learning, the opportunity to study the health and impact of the building materials utilized on their project was an exciting venture. Telling the story of what it meant to be a Design for Freedom pilot project had a positive impact on their fundraising campaign. Additionally, the client is excited to explore ways to share the story with library patrons for years to come.

Projects in Progress

The Brij, New Delhi, India

Located on the site of a former quartzite quarry, the new cultural center offers facilities for the visual, performing, literary, and culinary arts as well as a new arts academy. The scheme, aiming to promote interactions between artists and audiences via an immersive environment, is designed by CRAB Studio and CP Kukreja Architects.  The project will include six curved “vessels” hovering above a waffle grid, reminiscent of historic Indian Charbagh gardens.  The vessels will house offices, residential facilities, galleries, teaching spaces, a library, museum, and theater.

“A new center for arts and culture will be designed for accessibility, inclusion, sustainability, fairness, and as a welcoming place to all. I want to compliment Sharon Prince and Grace Farms for setting up this Summit. In the arts and cultural center that Serendipity Arts is setting up in New Delhi, we are hoping to make this a model project, and we are delighted to partner with Grace Farms to turn this into a Design for Freedom Project,” said Sunil Kant Munjal, Founder Patron of Serendipity Arts.

Serendipity Arts is working with CRAB Studio and ARUP on the project.

The Grain Market, Jodhpur, India

This special collaboration with Design for Freedom is currently in design. Diana Kellogg, founder of her award-winning firm, is working with JDH Urban Regeneration Project, which is restoring the historic walled city of Jodhpur. Together, they will restore a historic grain market, transforming it into a world-class farmer’s market with dining. 

Unshattered’s Project Possibilities, Wappingers Falls, NY

Photo courtesy of Unshattered

This building will provide new spaces to support Unshattered’s community. Unshattered is a non-profit social enterprise which paves the road between recovery and long-term sobriety by creating opportunities for women overcoming addiction and trauma to develop economic independence. One of the most unique and innovative organizations in this sector, the adaptive reuse of Unshattered’s building, designed by MASS Design Group, will allow for the expansion of their mission to end the addiction relapse cycle.

Completed Projects & Case Studies

Black Chapel by Theaster Gates (21st Serpentine Pavilion)

The Black Chapel by Theaster Gates, is the first international Design for Freedom by Grace Farms project. As Responsible Materials Advisor, Grace Farms worked with the Pavilion project team to enhance material transparency and prioritize ethical procurement. Read more in the Press Release.

Entitled Black Chapel, the 21st Serpentine Pavilion is designed by Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates.

The Serpentine Pavilion, at the Serpentine Galleries, which began in 2000 with Zaha Hadid, has been designed and built by some of the biggest names in international architecture. In recent years it has grown into a highly-anticipated showcase foremerging talents, from last year’s Sumayya Vally, Counterspace (South Africa), the youngest architect to be commissioned, and Frida Escobedo (Mexico), SANAA (Japan), Diebedo Francis, Kere (Burkina Faso), and BjarkeIngels (Denmark), whose 2016 Pavilion was the most visited architectural and design exhibition in the world. Learn More.

“It is an honour that Design for Freedom by Grace Farms is collaborating with Serpentine to assess ethical sourcing of the building materials for the 21st Serpentine Pavilion. This first completed international Design for Freedom project is accelerating the growing movement to eliminate forced labour from the building materials supply chain.” – Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder, Grace Farms Foundation.

Responsible Materials Advisor: In its role as Grace Farms worked with Serpentine and AECOM to trace several materials, including plywood and timber, steelwork, concrete, and the weatherproofing membrane. The team engaged with suppliers and manufacturers to trace and document these materials as far upstream in the supply chain as possible. Specifically, the project team was able to determine material sourcing as far back as Tier 4 suppliers and in some cases to the point of raw material extraction, thereby creating transparency and sourcing products that reduced the risk of forced and child labour in the construction of the Pavilion.

Read the Black Chapel Pilot Project Brief

Read the Black Chapel Case Study

Harriet Tubman Monument

The new Harriet Tubman Monument in Newark, NJ, designed by architect, artist, and United States Artists Fellow Nina Cooke John, opened to the public on March 9, 2023. The two-story monument, Shadow of a Face, encourages visitors to connect with Harriet Tubman, her story, and her extraordinary legacy.

Design for Freedom worked with Cooke John on the transparent sourcing of materials for the monument, demonstrating her commitment to design and build with materials that are free of forced labor.

Read the Harriet Tubman Monument Case Study

New Canaan Library

The New Canaan Library, in New Canaan, CT, is the first Design for Freedom building project in the U.S. 

Design for Freedom partnered with New Canaan Library on a new state-of-the-art knowledge and learning center, to explore and pursue the use of low-risk materials – materials less likely to be sourced through forced labor – during the building’s construction.

Throughout the process, Design for Freedom collaborated with Centerbrook Architects, Turner Construction, and 21 subcontractors to trace raw and composite (engineered from two or more materials) building materials as far as possible within the supply chain. The new library project opened on February 14, 2023. 

Much like Grace Farms, libraries bring communities together and disseminate knowledge, resources, and stimulate conversation.  Grace Farms and the Library’s collective commitment and shared work will provide key data and research that advances the movement and serves as a replicable example of what is possible when transparency is brought to the global building materials supply chain.

Read New Canaan Library Case Study

Temporal Shift by Alyson Shotz

Temporal Shift Sculpture shown at Grace Farms, by artist Alyson Shotz | Photo by: Melanie Lust

Temporal Shift by Alyson Shotz is a site-responsive sculpture that was at Grace Farms through October 2022. Temporal Shift interacted with natural light and animated an interior courtyard of the SANAA-designed River building at Grace Farms, describing time as the seasons change. When fabricating and installing the work in summer 2021, Grace Farms was presented with the opportunity to align the process of bringing this exciting work to the public with the ever-expanding framework of analysis, inquiry, and collaboration demonstrated by Design for Freedom.

Grace Farms Foundation worked with Design for Freedom Working Group members Joe Mizzi and Jay Gorman from Sciame to trace the stainless steel and concrete used in Temporal Shift to ascertain sources and labor inputs. 

The process of applying an ethical framework to the sourcing of materials for the sculpture installation made clear that ethical sourcing is possible and 100% of the steel and concrete used in Temporal Shift was ethically sourced.

Read Temporal Shift Case Study

Other Projects

New building project designed by Page

Photo courtesy of Page

A new building project designed by Page will incorporate the Design for Freedom process, and is the recipient of the firm’s 2022 Blue Oceans Grant, an internal competition. The three projects being considered are a federal building, a mixed-use development project, and a hospital.

The selected Design for Freedom Pilot Project will be announced shortly.

2025 Pilot Projects Open Call

Design for Freedom launched its first-ever Request for Proposal (RFP) in 2023. To participate in the Pilot Project program, we encourage you to submit your mission-aligned projects during our next Open Call.

The 2025 Design for Freedom Pilot Project RPF opens Friday, October 11, 2024 through Monday, December 2, 2024 at 12:00 pm ET.

Learn more