Giving Back in 2019

Giving Back in 2019

At Holst, we believe that good design is for everyone, and our desire to be a positive force in the community is a driving force of our work. As part of the 1+ program, we strive to dedicate at least one percent of our working hours to pro bono services. Not only is working with institutions and non-profit organizations a rewarding experience, it provides our staff with the opportunity to engage in unique design work and can be a welcome change of pace from our long-term projects. We also find that pro bono projects can be opportunities for junior staff to take on a bigger role, often lending a fresh perspective and presenting unique design solutions.

Additionally, each year Holst organizes office-wide volunteer opportunities in order to give back to our community. Volunteering is an opportunity for our staff to engage outside of their project teams and connect away from the office. It also allows us to connect with underserved populations in Portland and better understand the issues affecting our community.

Kalabash Academy

Kalabash Academy is a non-profit organization based in Portland that seeks to transform communities in West Africa through education, sports, and wellness. The organization recruits youth around West Africa to attend a school that prioritizes both education and athletic ability, providing students with multiple career opportunities and pathways out of poverty. Kalabash Academy was founded in 2019 by Foday Kabba, an FC Portland coach who was born in Sierra Leone before immigrating to the United States and competing for Gonzaga University.

In May, Foday reached out to Holst, asking if we would be interested in partnering with Kalabash Academy and designing their new facility in Conakry, Guinea. After meeting with him and learning more about Kalabash Academy’s mission and vision, we were excited to tackle this unique design challenge for such an inspiring program. Over the past nine months, Holst staff have worked with Foday to design a facility that includes an academic school and soccer training facility, a public soccer field with parking, and a wellness spa and gym. The campus needed to balance public and private needs of the different program elements as well as navigate a long and narrow site that is tightly constrained on all sides. The final design maximizes public engagement opportunity by locating the public amenities at the north and south ends of the site. This leaves the middle of the site reserved for school facilities, organized in a loose circle and focused inward to create a sense of privacy and refuge for students.

Friendly House

Friendly House is a local non-profit organization that aims to create a thriving community by connecting people of all ages and backgrounds through quality educational, recreational and other life-sustaining services. Founded in 1930, Friendly House has gone through several cycles of growth and contraction and is now looking to consolidate their services into a new building at their headquarters in northwest Portland.

In early 2019, Holst worked with Friendly House to develop a feasibility study for a new building, providing programming and pricing services pro bono. The organization is currently spread over three properties, which has led to logistical complications and impedes their vision of creating a unified community. Our team worked with them to identify spatial needs, eliminate redundancies, and explore opportunities for passive income. The finished design is a four-story building with dedicated space for Friendly House’s staff and services on the first and second floors and rentable speculative office space on the third and fourth floors. It would provide a larger, updated space for Friendly House’s clients and employees with the flexibility for future growth.

George Fox University & City of Carlton

From January through May, senior associate Mark Schmidt donated his time to George Fox University and the City of Carlton to advise art and interior design students on the design of a new city hall. During the winter quarter, Mark worked with a sophomore-level art class, taught by adjunct professor Luke Zimmerman, to develop artistic visions for the city hall project. These concept designs took inspiration from Carlton’s history of winemaking and the local architecture. During the spring quarter, Mark continued with the project, working with assistant professor Patrice Brown and a class of interior design students to develop a program for the city hall project. At the end of the school year, Mark took the work produced from both classes and assembled a concept design package for the city with new renderings and architectural drawings.

Volunteer Work

Holst provides employees with paid time for volunteer efforts, and designer Jessie Nutz organizes all of our office-wide volunteering efforts. Holst has a long history of working with nonprofit organizations from targeted headquarter renovations to ground-up affordable housing projects, and we love going back to those spaces to volunteer with our past clients and the people they serve. In 2019 we cooked and served dinner to the residents of Doreen’s Place in Bud Clark Commons in January and July; volunteered at the Rockwood Boys & Girls Club to play with children during spring break and to create homemade holiday presents in December; and served a holiday dinner to residents at REACH Community Development’s Ritzdorf and Rex Arms communities. We’re always inspired by the valuable services our nonprofit clients provide to the community and look forward to volunteering with them each year.

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