Every year we at the Knowlton School welcome important designers in the landscape field to join us as Glimcher Distinguished Professors. This year, I was happy to invite the Kounkuey Design Initiative to work with us from afar; along with my studio class, I’ll be working with them this winter/spring to document their work and methods and assist them in getting a new project off the ground.

They were kind enough to sit down with me this past week as part of the Baumer Lecture Series, reimagined for this year in the absence of a live audience as the Baumer Conversations. This is the closest I will ever be to being a television journalist, which is probably for the best. As many established designers try to figure out how to reconcile their previous habits with an actual commitment to social equity, KDI can share with us fifteen years of experience in working with underresourced communities. As you will find out by watching, a big part of what makes them special is their commitment to 1) learn from past mistakes of designers doing this kind of work, which involves in large part 2) making a commitment to working with certain places instead of sprinting back and forth looking for a new mark to make.

(February 2021)