Bond Center and Davis Brody Bond Architects Launch Innovation Partnership

The Spitzer School of Architecture’s J. Max Bond Center for Urban Futures and the New York-based firm Davis Brody Bond (DBB) announced the formation of a research partnership focused on equitable design practices and urban research.

DBB and the Bond Center, which was established in 2012, both represent the legacy and celebrated career of DBB partner J. Max Bond, Jr., FAIA (1935–2009), who worked tirelessly for social and spatial justice. Regarded as America’s most prominent and accomplished African American architect, Bond was also architecture dean at the City College of New York. He possessed an acute sense of justice and was regarded as a strategic and committed activist, illustrated throughout his career and most notably with ARCH, the Architect’s Renewal Committee of Harlem, of which he served as Executive Director in 1967-1968.

The partnership will couple resources from DBB, an award-winning, experienced leader in the architecture and urban design industry, established in 1952, with the public service, urban research capacity of the Bond Center’s diverse faculty and student researchers. A focus on projects of unique public interest addressing social and spatial equity, inclusion, community sustainability, and resilience will provide an expanded context for industry-based and academic research.

“This partnership serves as a pivotal model, illustrating how industry and academic programs and centers with aligned interests can work together to catalyze change at a time when real-world problems are outpacing solutions,” said Shawn L. Rickenbacker, Director, J. Max Bond Center for Urban Futures and Associate Professor of Architecture at the Spitzer School.

Concurrently, the partnership will structure a unique pipeline for the development of scalable urban and architectural design innovation and solutions to meet growing public need. The partnership promises to contribute to the knowledge base of the industry, academia, government, and communities locally and internationally by improving upon design processes, and public service design, through participatory design and transdisciplinary collaboration. The partnership’s expressed intent is to make the important societal contribution of research and design more diverse, accessible, and equitable.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Shawn Rickenbacker’s visionary leadership of the J. Max Bond Center and for sustaining Max’s legacy. And we are immensely grateful to Davis Brody Bond for their partnership in this vital project,” added Bradley Horn, Interim Dean, Spitzer School of Architecture.

“Max Bond believed in taking action, and we proudly join forces with the J. Max Bond Center to honor his legacy and the pursuit of social and spatial justice,” said Steven M. Davis, FAIA, Partner, Davis Brody Bond.

To support the J. Max Bond Center’s work and its partnerships, donations can be made to the City College 21st Century The Foundation for City College, a registered 501c3 organization, designation J. Max Bond Center for Urban Futures.