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AIA Small Project Design (SPD) Knowledge Community supports, celebrates, and promotes small projects by engaging designers and the public.

Small Project Design Grant Recipients

By Carolyn Perricelli posted 07-09-2021 03:01 PM


Small Project Design Grant Recipients

The Small Project Design advisory group is pleased to announce the recipients of the Small Project Design Knowledge Community Grant. The purpose of this grant is to provide financial support for non-profit organizations working with architects on community-based projects. Along with supporting the work of non-profits, we want to demonstrate the value of hiring an architecture firm (and AIA member) for community projects, by helping cover some of the costs associated with hiring the design team.

2022 Recipients 

The Garden Gateway

Organization: Center for Court Innovation Neighborhood Safety Initiatives
Architecture Firm: Interboro Partners

The Garden Gateway is a community-led micro-project to enliven a precious public space at the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)-owned Patterson Houses in the South Bronx, NYC, undertaken as a collaboration between local residents, the NYC Center for Court Innovation (CCI), and Interboro Partners, our AIA-affiliated architecture and urban design firm. This 1,750-sf intervention includes the transformation of an underutilized paved area into an adult exercise space, as well as a gateway pavilion that creates a new entry into an existing community garden and storage for exercise equipment and gardening tools. Through these simple design moves, the Gateway maximizes residents’ vision for a more socially, environmentally, and physically healthy neighborhood.


The Blue Bird Inn

Organization: Detroit Sound Conservancy
Architecture Firm: Quinn Evans Architects

Detroit Sound Conservancy, a nonprofit community-based music archive, will redesign The Blue Bird Inn, a former working-class, African American owned and operated jazz club at 5021 Tireman on Detroit's Old West Side, into a music venue, gathering space, and cultural education center. All uses will be welcoming, accessible, and intergenerational with an emphasis on preserving our heritage for an innovative collaborative future.

Sioux YMCA Tiny Home Community

Organization: Sioux YMCA
Architecture Firm: Siris Coombs Architecture

The Cheyenne River Reservation faces critical needs for both housing and employment. Designed through community engagement with Lakota elders and youth, the YMCA Tiny Home Community aims to meet both of these by offering transitional housing alongside support for equitable access to employment. The project will empower residents with the resources to live independently and support for spiritual and mental healing.


2021 Recipients

Cedar Lee Mini-Park

Organization: Future Heights
Architecture firm: Kordalski Architects, Inc.

FutureHeights, a nonprofit community development corporation, plans to transform an under-utilized public right-of-way, into a welcoming and inclusive park for the Cedar Lee Business District and surrounding residential neighborhoods of Cleveland Heights, Ohio. The site, roughly 50’ wide x 150’ deep, currently serves as a pass-through for visitors, connecting a public parking lot and garage to Lee Road businesses. Working in partnership with an AIA architect, FutureHeights will enhance the site to create a public, ADA-compliant gathering space for the community.

Cedar Lee Mini-Park


SAF Office & Farmworker Housing Advocacy Center

Organization: Student Action with Farmworkers
Architecture firm: Katherine Hogan Architects, PC

The project is the design of new a new office to support the work of Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF). The SAF Board and Staff wish to create a unique space that not only reflects their values but also the values of the farmworker communities that they support.

SAF Office & Farmworker Housing Advocacy Center
SAF Office & Farmworker Housing Advocacy Center


Safe and Healing Studio Sanctuary

Organization: Firebird Community Arts
Architecture firm: Wrap Architecture

The feasibility study for the renovation of the Firebird Community Arts studio will assist with strategic planning for potential studio improvements that can be implemented over time as funding sources become available. Project goals include creating a visual connection to the outdoor classroom, increasing natural light, improving indoor air quality, toilet room and breakroom upgrades, accessibility, signage, energy efficiency measures, and potential sources of renewable energy.

Safe and Healing Studio Sanctuary


2020 Recipients

Watershed Conservation Resource Center

Organization: Watershed Conservation Resource Center
Architecture firm: University of Arkansas Community Design Center

This small facility for an emerging river institute combines a private office/workshop space for a design-build operation in river restoration with a public watershed education/event seating 100 guests. The challenge is to accommodate conflicting requirements between both programs on a spartan budget. The WCRC facility must balance the need for a private and quiet work environment with the objective to project hospitality among community stakeholders in building watershed stewardship.

Watershed Conservation Resource Center



07-08-2022 09:49 AM

Congratulations to the 2022 Grant recipients!

12-01-2021 05:48 PM

Congrats to all of the winners!
We are excited to support these projects and continue the small project grant program in years to come!