So many meaningful professional and life experiences from my years spent in Philadelphia and Washington DC, came back with me when I returned home to Western New York.
While in DC, I was inspired by John “Wieb” Wiebenson even though I never met him. In 2003, this local architect, impressively committed to pro bono work, was spearheading the renovation of a former car repair shop for a non-for-profit after-school program space when he tragically succumbed to asphyxiation in a basement level of the building.
Later that year, the Washington Architectural Foundation (WAF) awarded the first John “Wieb” Wiebenson Award for Architecture in the Public Interest, celebrating architects making careers out of doing good. The award has been proudly bestowed every year since. WAF also gives a Pro Bono Publico Award.
If pro bono work is such a vital part of the architectural community in our nation’s capital, surely doing good is/ can be/ will be an important part of practice in our City of Good Neighbors.
My indirect experience of John Wiebenson in DC ultimately translated into Pro Bono Publico becoming an important tenet of Buffalo Architecture Foundation. Now in our fourth year of the Pro Bono Publico Awards, these honors have brought pro bono work more fully into the conversation among architects and not-for-profits, shining a deserved spotlight on an essential aspect of practice.
Please help Buffalo Architecture Foundation make this light shine brighter each year by submitting a nomination for the 2014 Pro Bono Publico Awards.