PHOTO courtesy The Alberti Program at Washington University.
St. Louis, MO, USA – St. Louis-based design firm PGAV Destinations has pledged $125,000 and the volunteer time of its leading designers to support The Alberti Program at Washington University’s Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts for the next five years.
“As we celebrated our 50th anniversary this year, we’ve been exploring opportunities for PGAV Destinations and our community to thrive and grow together,” said Mike Konzen, chair and principal of PGAV Destinations. “Events in Ferguson and elsewhere are a reminder that career opportunities are not equal for all residents of our community, and partnering with the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts and Washington University’s Alberti Program is an ideal opportunity to share our passion with segments of our community that have limited resources, and inspire growth.”
The Alberti Program was initially launched in 2006 under the guidance of Bruce Lindsey, dean of the Sam Fox School’s College of Architecture and Graduate School of Architecture & Urban Design. “Architecture, at its core, is about learning to shape one’s environment. It’s powerful, energizing, and inspiring,” says Lindsey, who serves as the E. Desmond Lee Professor for Community Collaboration. “Alberti students learn about sustainability, and they learn to solve problems with multiple variables. They learn to collaborate and come up with solutions. They build self-confidence and experience the joy of making things together.”
“This new partnership with PGAV will be critical to expanding our abilities to provide opportunities for more young people and promote great diversity across the architecture profession,” Lindsey adds.
The Alberti Program, now in Partnership with PGAV Destinations, is led by faculty and students in the Sam Fox School, who facilitate lectures by guest speakers, field trips, and projects promoting hands-on exploration. Over the years, Alberti has drawn students from 145 regional elementary, middle, and high schools, which have on average 50% low-income students and 60% minority students. Approximately one-third of these schools are located in communities with an annual per capita income of less than $18,000.
Beginning in spring of 2016, PGAV Destinations designers will volunteer time with the Alberti Program’s lectures and projects as well as host students at the firm’s St. Louis headquarters.
“PGAV’s people are passionate in so many ways: passionate about our professional practice, passionate about conservation and our planet, and passionate about helping others,” said Konzen. “Our new partnership with the Alberti Program is an incredible way to share that passion in our community, and open doors for others to pursue a career in architecture and design.”
“Our students work with their hands and their minds,” said Gay Lorberbaum, senior lecturer in the Sam Fox School, who has directed Alberti since its founding. “I’ve written more than 600 pages of curriculum that facilitate individual learning and lateral thinking. How do you frame a significant question? This isn’t about memorizing for a test – it’s about forming ideas and making. Suddenly, these students realize that they have the ability to affect the world in which we live.”