Launched by Sharon Prince, CEO and Founder of Grace Farms Foundation and the late Bill Menking, Editor-in-Chief of The Architect’s Newspaper, the Design for Freedom Working Group includes an expanding group of more than 60 experts and leaders that have committed their expertise and wherewithal to eliminate modern slavery in the built environment.
A radical paradigm shift driven by global leaders in the built environment
Innovative Tools in the Movement Toward Slave-Free Buildings
Presented by Grace Farms Foundation and Pratt Institute
Susan Jones founded her Seattle-based architectural practice, atelierjones in 2003. A national leader in mass timber design and construction, Jones completed four CLT-based projects in the Pacific Northwest including a single-family house, a church, and two modular CLTSchools.
Maggie Jacobstein Stern
As a Design for Freedom working group member and senior associate at MASS Design Group, Maggie Jacobstein Stern collaborated with the Grace Farms Foundation on the upcoming fall exhibition, Common Good through Crisis.
Jay Gorman helped lead the construction and material procurement of the Grace Farms Foundation’s award winning River Building. As members of the Design for Freedom Working Group, he and Sciame’s president Joe Mizzi, also conducted a post-construction analysis of the building’s roof to reveal the global supply chain behind its materials.
At the crossroads of human rights and environmental impact, Annabel Short works with nonprofits and foundations to advance business responsibility and accountability.
Pentagram, internationally known for its design work creating brand graphics and identities, digital experiences, installations and exhibitions around the world, was integral to the collaborative design process on Grace Farms’ recently opened exhibit, Common Good Through Crisis.
In recognition of National Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention month, we spoke with Senior Counsel with Krevolin & Horst and Former U.S. Ambassador at Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons Susan Coppedge as she makes connections between forced labor and human trafficking and how the Design for Freedom movement is working to end these humanitarian crimes.
Accelerating the Movement
Grace Farms convenes the first-ever Design for Freedom Summit to bring together a committed community of leaders from the ecosystem of the built environment to remove forced labor from the global materials supply chain. Featuring keynotes by Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and Sharon Prince, the Summit raises awareness and creates institutional responses by exploring corporate ethical responsibility and the government policies that impact forced labor in the global building materials supply chain and innovative approaches to addressing this issue.
As of February 2022, there are four Design for Freedom Pilot Projects in the U.S. and abroad, including the 21st Serpentine Pavilion in London, the Harriet Tubman Monument in Newark, NJ, the New Canaan Library in CT, and Alyson Shotz’s Temporal Shift which is on view at Grace Farms. Each of these projects is open and accessible to the public. Additional international projects will be announced later this spring.
Welcomed Grace Farms’ first-ever Sustainable Materials Director Nora Rizzo, one of the first Ambassadors in the world to be accredited by the International Living Future Institute.
In October, we began hosting a Design for Freedom & Sustainable Materials Tour of the River building led by Nora Rizzo.
Grace Farms worked with City Bench to design ethically produced trophies made from felled urban trees as the Trophy Sponsor for this year’s Connecticut Green Building Council awards.
Design for Freedom
The Design for Freedom Face Mask, designed by Design for Freedom Working Group Members Shohei Yoshida and Peter Miller, was longlisted in the wearable design category of the Dezeen Awards 2021.
Sharon Prince and Working Group members present to a range of industry professionals and organizations locally and nationally: including the Construction Specifier Institute, the Northeast Summit for a Sustainable Built Environment, and the Center for Innovation in Design and Construction.
We also presented at conferences nationwide such as the American Institute of Architects A’21 Conference and USGBC’s Greenbuild.
Sharon Prince and the Design for Freedom movement was featured in publications including Forbes, Fast Company, The Architect’s Newspaper, Metropolis, Brick & Wonder, Common Edge, Madame Architect, and the US Modernist podcast.
Partnerships with major colleges and universities continue with presentations to Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, the Illinois Institute for Technology, Yale University and the University of Michigan.
Common Good Through Crisis
A fall exhibition created by Design for Freedom Working Group members at MASS Design Group and Pentagram, spotlights the stories behind Grace Farms’ humanitarian impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. Responding to the soaring need for PPE and food, hundred of thousands of wholesome meals were donated to communities and the Foundation sourced and donated 2.1 million PPE to frontline workers closing a state-wide gap, with the help of local and global partners. Our CEO and Founder also partnered with artist Carrie Mae Weems on her national artist-driven public awareness campaign to respond to the urgent need for PPE in Native communities.
Grace Farms reopens
Grace Farms reopens in September with Temporal Shift, a sculpture by artist Alyson Shotz, as part of the Arts Initiative’s interdisciplinary study of time. Forced labor-free steel and concrete were used in this project, providing an opportunity to explore the complexity of material sourcing.
Created new daily programming for visitors at Grace Farms to educate the public about Design for Freedom and the ongoing humanitarian work of the Foundation.
Partnerships with major colleges and universities continue
with presentations to Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.
Sharon Prince and Working Group members present to a range of industry professionals and organizations locally and nationally
including the Construction Specifier Institute, the Northeast Summit for a Sustainable Built Environment and the Center for Innovation in Design and Construction.
Strengthening Partnerships and Widening Our Reach
Once you know: digital awareness campaign begins
12-month Design for Freedom digital campaign to spread awareness
Collaboration leads to new face mask
Ethically-produced face masks are designed pro bono by Grace Farms project architects Shohei Yoshida and Peter Miller. Herman Miller retails the masks with proceeds supporting the Design for Freedom movement through Design Within Reach.
New branding and website launch
designforfreedom.org is launched to formalize the movement, designed pro bono by GoodFolk.
First full-semester class and visiting lecture series at distinguished universities
Design for Freedom Working Group members who are also faculty initiate a class at Yale School of Architecture and visiting lecture series at Cooper Union, Pratt Institute, Parsons, and more.
Working Group Members inspire their firms
— Design for Freedom Working Group meetings formalize action groups, and members begin to propose changes in their own firms and a means to build awareness.
— Executive presentation at COOKFOX Architects
Movement among industry leaders accelerates
New publicly accessible resources and advocacy efforts are launched to galvanize key stakeholders
Public launch addresses institutional obligation and commitment
This media recognition of the issue and the leaders addressing it are shortly followed by first-of-its-kind presentations and events at:
— International Association for Bridge and Structural Engineering Congress (IABSE)
— Top1000Funds Fiduciary Investors Symposium
— Urban Thinkers Campus, an initiative of the UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign
— Grace Farms, first U.S. public program discussing forced labor in building materials supply chains
Generating Awareness with the Next Generation of Influencers
Design for Freedom Working Group members that are also faculty and administrators from leading undergraduate and graduate programs are an integral part of the solution. We are seeing universities working to incorporate anti-slavery education into the curriculum and hope to drive the research agenda for the coming years.
Recognizing that lasting change will be driven by generations to come, Sharon Prince and members of the Working Group have organized a series of symposia, lectures, and classes at prominent architecture schools, colleges, and universities. Since 2019 and continuing over the course of the next year, members of the Working Group will speak with students at Cooper Union, IE (Madrid), Illinois Institute of Technology, Parsons, Pratt Institute, Princeton, and Yale.
Expanding awareness locally and globally
The Design for Freedom Working Group is announced in The Architect’s Newspaper, Architectural Record, and other industry media.
New York AIA and Center for Architecture leadership raise the building materials supply chain flag, making space for Working Group meetings and spotlight for 1,000 members
January 2020 meeting
AIA NY | Center for Architecture
September 2019 meeting
May 2019 meeting
Grace Farms has served as a constant gathering space for Working Group members since 2018
Rogers Partners Architects+Urban Designers
Welcomes first Working Group meeting in September 2018
Meetings are held in architecture spaces that inspire action and collaboration
Design for Freedom Working Group launches
The Movement Begins with a Question
Sharon Prince, Grace Farms Foundation, asked Bill Menking, founder of The Architect’s Newspaper, why forced labor in the building materials supply chain was not on the industry’s agenda. That inquiry would launch a convening of leaders in the built environment to take action.