Planning a trip to San Francisco this spring for the AIA National Convention and Design Exposition? If you'll be in town between April 16 and May 29, stop by the AIA San Francisco chapter headquarters to see its free exhibition The Architecture of (Social) Responsibility.
The show will present the work of six local nonprofits. "There's a real social consciousness in San Francisco that has led to at least a dozen organizations here that are devoted to architecture for the public," says Margie O'Driscoll, executive director of AIA San Francisco. "We hope their work will inspire people to go back to their communities and start similar organizations or just get more involved in volunteer efforts."
Along with better-known nonprofits such as Architecture for Humanity and Public Architecture, the exhibit will feature Rebar, an art and design collective that challenges assumptions about public space; Asian Neighborhood Design, which counts affordable housing design among its many services; PlantSF, which promotes the creation of permeable landscapes in the city; and the Architectural Foundation of San Francisco, which educates schoolchildren about architecture.
The exhibit doesn't shy away from controversial topics. According to O'Driscoll, the section on Public Architecture's prototype for a day laborer station will include blunt, sometimes racially tinged quotes from residents of cities that have considered building the station. "We think it's fair to talk about these things," she says.
The Architecture of (Social) Responsibility will be on display at the AIA San Francisco Gallery/Center for Architecture + Design, 130 Sutter Street, Suite 600. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. A panel discussion will take place in late May; details on that will be announced soon.