I had no idea that a place like this existed here in Chicago. Archeworks is dedicated to the idea that design can be socially relevant. The students come from all backgrounds and adult age groups, and work in teams to research a particular social issue and offer design solutions.

Their past projects include a number of designs which address the issues of health and disability from a carrying case for AIDS medication to modular kitchens for the disabled. Their community work has produced prototypes for an ideal community-based school, and redesign of detention facilities to facilitate rehabilitation and post-detention support. They have done a number of projects related to sustainability and eco-friendly design.

But for me, one of the most interesting projects is this report:

“Archeworks completed the final year of a three year project that investigated the withholding of good design from certain segments of society. The project, funded by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts, explored the areas in which design was withheld. During the three year study, Archeworks students held focus groups, symposiums and did research that resulted in the book Design Denied: The Dynamics of Withholding Good Design and its Ethical Implications and a curricula for design schools surrounding the topic. The book was published by Archeworks and released in May 2005″

It’s interesting to note that the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has built a course around this report. The report itself is available in book form from the Prairie Avenue Bookshop Chicago’s architectural bookstore.

If you want to know more about Archeworks, visit their website, or check out Convention Challenged which documents a dozen years of the history of Archeworks, and the ideas behind it.


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