FEATURE | PRO BONO / NON-PROFIT WORK
ELEVATING THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE THROUGH DESIGN EMERGING PROFESSIONALS AND PRO BONO WORK AT DLR GROUP BY KATE THUESEN
Elevating the human experience through design is DLR Group’s brand promise, and our professionals live that mission every day with our clients around the world. A portion of our efforts is dedicated to delivering pro bono work to organizations in need, and I’m pleased to interview a handful of DLR Group’s young architects and design talent about the work they are doing with pro bono clients across the country. I talked to emerging professionals about investing in their communities by leveraging their design skills to provide housing, renovate a school, design a youth garden program, and build a community center. The work they are doing enables organizations to meet their goals and aspirations, more effectively reaching their target audiences. By partnering with these organizations, DLR Group’s young architects and designers deliver thoughtful, meaningful spaces – and in one case, delicious meals.
Kate Thuesen, AIA is a multi-talented architect with vast experience in both the K-12 and Higher Education industries. In addition to her primary role as a project architect at DLR Group, Thuesen takes on a variety of other tasks including business development and recruitment, making her a knowledgeable and reliable resource within the company. She is passionate about cultivating meaningful, longlasting relationships, as well as creating unique and innovative design solutions for her clients. Early in her career, Thuesen lived and worked for more than two years in Madrid, Spain, where she gained an appreciation for international architecture and design. She also gained insight into the importance of embracing diversity and learning about new cultures to support personal and professional success. Thuesen is currently the AIA Young Architects Regional Director (YARD) representing the Central States Region.
Claire Lonsbury, AIA
is currently a member of the K-12 and Higher Education teams at DLR Group. She has been working in the architecture and construction industry since 2011 in many different design sectors including civic, hospitality, mixed-Use, multi-family, as well as custom furniture design.
is most experienced in the design of K-12 and Higher Education facilities, but also works on Civic, MixedUse, and Sports projects. She is an active member of AIA Minnesota, currently serving as Secretary of the AIA Minnesota Board and Co-chair of the AIA Minnesota Housing Advocacy Committee.
Jose Sanchez, Assoc. AIA
Lindsey Piant Perez, AIA
is a retail expert with extensive domestic and international experience. He believes a collaborative design process can create imaginative retail solutions to benefit clients, consumers, and local communities.
is one of DLR Group's sustainable design experts and serves as a national resource on LEED Green Globes, and Architecture 2030 project planning and certification processes. She has been involved with more than 500,000 SF of renovation projects for education clients.
Kate Thuesen (KT): Give a brief description of your pro bono project. Did you partner with the AIA or another nonprofit? Amy Dery (AD): For our project, DLR Group has partnered with Easter Seals Colorado to build a new bunk house at the Rocky Mountain Village Camp in Empire, Colo. The mission of Easter Seals is to “partner with individuals and families to reduce the impact of disability or health challenges and to enhance quality of life.” The new bunk house will be located near a fishing pond and outdoor stage, replacing an existing arts-and-crafts building that is scheduled to be demolished. This facility will house 32 bunks and includes a kitchen, living area, fully accessible bathrooms (designed beyond ADA standards per Easter Seals requirements), and private bedrooms for counselors. Currently, the University of Colorado owns the land where the Easter Seals camp is located, and they lease the land in order to house over 100 campers each summer. One goal for this new bunk
THE ARCHITECTURE AND DESIGN JOURNAL OF THE YOUNG ARCHITECTS FORUM
house is for it to be rentable outside of the summer-camp season, allowing it to be self-funded for the needs of the Easter Seals. More information about the Easter Seals organization can be found on their website (http://www.easterseals.com/co/). Claire Lonsbury (CL): For our project, we worked with Urban Ventures (UV), a nonprofit located in South Minneapolis serving families in poverty through “programs and social enterprises that empower families to take control of their futures.” For over 20 years, they’ve been offering a variety of programs for families and kids. Their kids programs range from sports teams, tutoring, youth groups for teens, early-childhood learning, after-school programs, and summer programs. A recent strategic-planning initiative by the organization has determined that UV’s impact on kids and families would be more effective by combining their myriad programs for kids and young adults into a K-8 charter school on their campus. The organization