WASHINGTON – The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is recognizing Boston-based MASS Design Group with its 2021 Collaborative Achievement Award.
The Collaborative Achievement Award recognizes and encourages collaboration among design professionals, clients, organizations, knowledge communities and others that have had a beneficial influence on or advanced the architectural profession.
Boston-based MASS Design Group is an interdisciplinary collective comprised of 120 architects, landscape architects, engineers, furniture designers, writers and filmmakers. MASS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, deeply committed to equitable, community-driven design ensuring that architecture addresses the social issues facing the world. Since its founding, MASS has donated more than $8 million in design services and unlocked more than $80 million in capital project investment through savvy philanthropic outreach.
With its mission embedded in its name—MASS is an acronym for Model of Architecture Serving Society—the company was founded on the notion that buildings hold the power to heal. The firm’s early work explored the ways in which architecture can improve health and well-being, and projects in Rwanda and Haiti delivered dignified buildings that strengthen the healing services its partners in those countries provide. The practices learned in those early projects established the framework that allows MASS to inform policy development, emerging research, and projects that address inequality. With 30 projects built or under construction around the world, including the lauded National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama, each new effort is characterized by MASS’ dedication to exploring the deep connections between human and ecological health.
From its earliest days, MASS has dealt closely with infectious diseases, experience that has proved invaluable during the global COVID-19 pandemic. When social distancing measures were enacted across most of the country last March, MASS quickly turned to its compilation of best practices for spatial strategies that help slow contagion and assisted Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program in designing temporary treatment facilities in the city. Guided by MASS’ collaborative process, the combination of design, medical, nonprofit, and government forces allowed the program to begin treating patients within one week of initial planning.
An innovative leader that has already served more than 500,000 people through its work, MASS has unlocked architecture’s capacity to serve the greater good and build a more equitable and just society. MASS’ eagerness to collaborate produces critical infrastructure and buildings that focus on the dignity and well-being of those they serve.