Place by Design

March 16, 2020

Place by Design aims to showcase innovative and invigorating design in the public sphere where urbanists, artists, architects, and designers have the opportunity to present their scalable solutions for improving our shared landscape.

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Creek Show - 2019 Place by Design Finalist - Photo by Roger Ho

Creek Show - 2019 Place by Design Finalist - Photo by Roger Ho

About Place by Design


Place by Design is open to all types of design work that rethinks, enhances or transforms public space. This includes but is not limited to emerging technologies, urban interventions, public art and architecture.

Finalists are determined by the degree of the social impact their work has on the community. Each designer or team will pitch their work in a fast-paced competition followed by a Q&A session with the judges.

All finalists will receive two complimentary SXSW 2020 Platinum Badges, in addition to an invitation to the Innovation Awards ceremony on Monday, March 16. The winner of Place by Design will be announced on-stage to an audience of media, judges, and SXSW attendees.

Applications for Place by Design have closed.

Join Us at SXSW 2020

Place by Design
March 16, 2020 | 3:30PM – 4:30PM
JW Marriott (Salon E)
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This event is open to all SXSW Badges.



In order to qualify for Place by Design, works need to:

  • Be actualized. Work will be judged in part by its impact on the design problem it set out to solve, therefore conceptual submissions are not eligible.
  • Be designed in the last five years. Submissions need to have an impact on the community, but still need to be current.
  • Be creative. We are seeking original ideas that are site-specific yet can scale, and will inspire other designers to improve their own surroundings.

Please email any questions about Place By Design to

2020 Finalists

CultureHouse - 2020 Place by Design Finalist - Photo courtesy of CultureHouse


Rolling Rez Arts - 2020 Place by Design Finalist - Photo courtesy of Rolling Rez Arts

Rolling Rez Arts

Hoodlab Global by - 2020 SXSW Place by Design Finalists - Photo courtesy of Hoodlab Global by

Hoodlab Global by

BOGADA - 2020 Place by Design Finalist - Photo courtesy of BOGADA


Net Zero Construction Jobsite Office Trailer - 2020 Place by Design Finalist - Photo courtesy of Net Zero Construction Jobsite Office Trailer

Net Zero Construction Jobsite Office Trailer

2020 Finalists


Rolling Rez Arts

The Rolling Rez Arts mobile unit roams the vast landscape of the Pine Ridge Reservation having traveling more than 30,000 miles – its colorful herd of painted buffalo becoming a recognized sight across the reservation’s 11,000 square miles or 2 million acres. The unit embodies what it takes to build a creative economy in an expansive space. The Rolling Rez Arts is a pollinator in growing the ecosystem – seeding the many partnerships of organizations, artists, and individuals in a vibrant Indigenous Arts Ecology. The Rolling Rez Arts is a shining example of how moving parts working together can create art – traditional art forms, filmmaking, printmaking – and grow businesses – financial education, wholesale buying for the Red Cloud Heritage Center, and banking for Lakota Federal Credit Union.


CultureHouse is a radical experiment in redefining public space. It is a space to work, play, relax, interact, and discover. Taking cues from urban design principles, they transform vacant storefronts into free-to-enter spaces that serve as an indoor public park, a communal living room, and a third space between home and work. They are pop-up by nature, as this framework allows them to create a low-friction environment to try out new and daring ways to improve public space. Since they started the project two years ago, they have popped-up in eleven outdoor parks and plazas as well as three indoor locations. They opened their current pop-up in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA, in July 2019 in a storefront that had been vacant for over a year. Since they opened, they have hosted community and cultural programming, including art workshops, live music performances, discussion groups, and free movie nights. They have hosted over one hundred events from July through November, many in collaboration with local individuals and partners. They have collaborated with everyone from an independent coffee producer, to a group that curates discussions over a dinner cooked by an immigrant chef, to All She Wrote Books, pop-up a bookstore that sells books written by women and queer authors. Their Kendall Square pop-up was initially only supposed to run for four months, but the real estate company that owns the building asked them to stay for another five months. They are also opening up a second location in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA in December. This pop-up, in collaboration with the City of Cambridge, will run for five months in the heart of the city. They will be in a kiosk in the center of the Square that was the former home of the famous Out of Town Newsstand. Along with being a platform for awareness of social issues, such as women empowerment, homelessness, urban sustainability, and equity, they foster relationships that brightens and enriches the community.


The BOGADA project started in 2017 when Tandem Turkey partners gathered collectives from Istanbul and Madrid to design and build a project which would heal a spot in one of the neighborhoods of Kadikoy – a district of Istanbul. The Turkish and Spanish designers visited many problematic spots and decided to focus on the core of Kadikoy; the spot next to the Bull Statue Square that was previously used as bus stop and by Romani people to occasionally gather to play music. Even though the spot was in the core of the locals’ daily routine, it was abandoned by the authorities. It was an organic gathering spot but there was no design element to support its needs. In a system where the actions carried out at the street perceived as ‘rebellion’ and the interventions coming from the top seen as ‘system requirement’, an intervention process between two was built. One of the most crucial aims of this project was to design alternative ways against the interventions made by the authorities and break the city users’ frustration. Therefore, they aimed to run the urban intervention project by a participatory process, their participants are selected by an open call. They aimed to work with the local municipality and show them the goods of collaborative works in urban spaces. We used their leftover materials and build the furniture in their workshops. All the designed urban furniture was produced with 1:1 scale and anchored to the field by the participants. The Bogada project, the core of the district used by everyone in their daily routine was performed together with the people of Kadikoy as users and designers of Kadikoy. Painting the wall and the ground made the spot more attractive for locals to gather while new reconfigurable furniture increased the number of seats in the square. The project became very popular and the design is embraced by the locals. The most important part of the project was to see how it became an example for other municipalities to put more interest in user-related, collaborative designs.

Pepper’s Net Zero Construction Jobsite Office Trailer

The average construction trailer emits 53,712 pounds of CO2 emissions into the air annually, which equates to the energy use of four residential homes. Essentially a tiny building, Pepper’s Net Zero Construction Jobsite Office Trailer works holistically to focus on comfort, productivity, and quality – and uses 100% less energy than a traditional trailer. Clad in cement fiber panels that reduce heat absorption, the envelope features a thermal barrier from six inches of rigid insulation, doubling the R-values for the walls, floor, and roof – which now range from R-30 to R-40. Atop the structure, 27 photovoltaic panels convert four hours of sunlight into electricity to power the trailer for a full workday. Double pane, low-E Argon glass windows open to provide fresh air and are covered with transparent window shades for glare control. Daylight streams into the space and eliminates candescent lighting. A wireless system with occupancy and daylight sensors can control lights via a mobile app, and the space is reconfigurable without rewiring. Inside, a gathering room hosts meetings and hotel space for visitors. Recycled, bio-formed felt hangs above the conference space for sound absorption, and its organic pattern incorporates biophilia into the space. A full-amenity kitchen with Energy Star appliances and water-efficient fixtures allow for healthy eating habits. A dedicated technology closet encourages paperless project management and ensures adequate space as technology needs change and increase over time. The modern design is finished with comfortable and Red List-Free materials and furniture, like reclaimed cabinets and bamboo flooring. Details like locker storage, stand-up desks, and fold-up furniture create a flexible and organized workspace. Walk off mats keep debris outside, while green cleaning supplies limit harmful chemicals inside. The Net Zero trailer is efficient from every perspective, and the design transforms previously utilitarian conditions into a modern, functional, and healthy workplace.

Hoodlab Global by

In spring 2018, Hoodlab Global by project was started in one of the roughest and poorest neighborhoods in the South East of Amsterdam, Venserpolder. Hoodlab facilitated the residents to move their neighborhood together with professionals. Hoodlab stands for a living lab in the vibrant middle of the neighborhood and lasts for around 6 weeks long, providing a temporary community center that reaches residents, young and old. On the street, with big open container doors, Hoodlab brings energy and knows how to enter into minds and hearts. People are heard one-on-one and invited to share their personal stories, needs, objections, and ideas about their neighborhood, as well as encouraged to be part of the solution themselves. With a group of professionals from different municipal domains, corporations, formal and informal care partners in the background, and involved residents and young people up front – the Hoodlab social design team worked on improving the quality of life and living environment of the residents in line with the local area plans so the government could match the planned improvements to the actual needs. In the process, they looked for neighborhood ambassadors who want to move the people and the neighborhood and they captured the stories of the people in all kinds of appealing content. Hoodlab stood at the basis of making this valuable material about and with the neighborhood such as video, photo series, public exhibitions, and community art projects to show the energy of the project to other residents and bring it more to life, so that developments are being embedded and remembered. In the spring of 2019, they worked year-round together with the residents, municipality, professionals, and different organizations realizing around twelve physical projects in the public space. From planting 50,000 flower bulbs, building picknick tables, a real-life public exhibition, and transforming two large tunnels into works of art.

2020 Judges & Emcee


2020 Judges

Nathaniel L. Wallace

Nathaniel L. Wallace joined Knight Foundation in September 2019.

Wallace joined Knight with nearly two decades of entrepreneurial and business management experience. Previously, he served as vice president of operations and co-owner of his international family firm, Communications Professionals Inc. (CPI). There, Wallace created both the IT services and staffing arms for the $20 million firm; developed infrastructure to pursue new markets; and led business and partnership development, talent acquisition, and growth strategy.

As a proud Detroit native, Wallace is deeply motivated by new possibilities for the city and its residents. He is an avid supporter of the local arts and cultural community and a strong advocate for artists of color. Wallace has hosted exhibitions, artist talks, art salons, poetry readings, rap cyphers and a myriad of art-focused programming.

Wallace is President of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Junior Council, and also serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Detroit Partnership, and Artworks by Matrix Human Services. Other organizations Wallace has served include the Music Hall of Performing Arts, Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program, NEIdeas, Emerging Art Leaders Detroit, The District Detroit Art Advisory Committee, and Michigan Opera Theatre’s Opera Club.

Wallace earned a bachelor’s degree in Executive Business Management from Northwood University in Midland, Michigan.

Max Strang

For 20 years Max Strang has demonstrated a commitment to creating high-quality designs with a focus on academic and professional engagement. His design approach acutely considers the future impact climate change will have on residential and urban development in the coming decades, and his iconic designs thoughtfully integrate with South Florida’s subtropical climate.

Elevated to the College of Fellows in 2016 and consistently recognized locally, regionally, and nationally for the strength of his design work, Max has won dozens of awards, including the 2013 AIA Miami Silver Medal for Design, and 2018 AIA Florida Medal of Honor for Design.

Max has been published in over 200 magazines, news interviews, and books. His firm’s monograph, Environmental Modernism: The Architecture of [STRANG], released in 2017, reflects the concepts of “environmental modernism” showcased in the firm’s numerous residential projects. Max has generated an impressive and well-crafted body of work that is consistent, rigorous, and varied. His use of materiality, detailing and scale pushes projects beyond necessity into the world of architecture that is art.

Lucia Athens

Lucia Athens, LEED AP, is the City of Austin’s first Chief Sustainability Author. Over a 20-year period Athens has helped to develop Austin Energy’s Green Building program, chaired the Site and Water Technical Assistance Group for the LEED® 2.0 Rating System, and led the City of Seattle’s sustainable building initiative. Lucia has served on the National Board of Directors for USGBC, GBCI, and EcoDistricts. She frequently collaborates with nonprofits including Rocky Mountain Institute, Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, U.S. Global Green, and SXSW.

A licensed Landscape Architect, Athens has contributed to many green building projects including Austin’s LEED Platinum Library, Seattle City Hall (LEED Gold) and Evergreen State College’s Seminar II building (LEED Gold). Lucia has served as Austin delegate to the C40 Mayors Climate Leadership group at summits in Johannesburg, Sao Paolo, and Copenhagen. She is a frequent keynote speaker, including for events hosted by The Economist, The Atlantic, The Advanced Leadership Foundations, and Metropolis Magazine. Athens is author of the Island Press book Building an Emerald City: A Guide to Creating Green Building Policies and Programs. Her forthcoming book, The Optimist’s Guide to Sustainability, explores true tales of sustainability heroes who charted a path for today’s practitioners and innovators.

2020 Emcee

Candice Digby

Candice has a wide range of experience spanning marketing, advertising, sponsorship development, partnerships, programming, artist, and event management. In 2011, she helped to open and run artist-owned record label, The Noise Company. In this role, Candice realized her passion for finding innovative platforms to support artists. She took her drive for fostering creative communities to tech education at General Assembly, where she served as the Marketing Lead for Texas. Diving further into tech infrastructure, Candice has recently joined Vapor IO, where she heads up their partnership program and international event programming. Candice is one of the founders of Austin Design Week, which launched in November 2016. Austin Design Week brings together designers from all practices and celebrates Austin’s creative culture. In her free time, you can usually find her enjoying some of the best food the city has to offer, or at a live music show.


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