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The Department of Small Works


Social Impact Design Collective

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The Department of Small Works


Social Impact Design Collective

d.o. small works

The Department of Small Works that partners with social ventures, non profits and foundations to implement building solutions for communities in need. We work in areas of systemic poverty and post-disaster reconstruction.

Small Works was founded by Cameron Sinclair after two decades of building and running Architecture for Humanity. The organization began as a social impact investment firm but has evolved into a social impact design collective to develop  'for-purpose' projects.

twitter: @dosmallworks // email: info@smallworks.net

innovation

The heart of Small Works is to create innovative solutions in the hardest hit areas of the world, from emergency shelter to to long term sustainable reconstruction to economic development.

iteration

We believe there is no silver bullet solution to  global issues. By engaging professional firms, creating alliances with strong partners and deep community engagement, we can develop sustainable and highly adaptable solutions.

implementation

Our work is more than talking about change, it is about building it. Our team has built in over 45 countries and have continued on projects until they are completed. We are not a start up, We are a stay through.

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design & build


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design & build


Our team is currently working on projects in Afghanistan, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, South Sudan and the United States. Projects range from re-deployable shelters for Syrian refugees to collaborating with electronic artists on a sound therapy lab for returning vets.

To date we have completed a prototype transitional home, a re-deployable school in Jordan and a pavilion to represent the 52 million displaced persons at the 2015 Milan Expo.

Prior to Small Works our team has built thousands of structures in over 45 countries around the world and led 16 post-disaster reconstruction programs in partnership with international NGOs and private foundations.

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Why Small Works?


Adaptation over Scale

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Why Small Works?


Adaptation over Scale

There is no single solution to a humanitarian crisis or prescribed answer to a community need. By designing and building highly adaptable solutions that are relevant to the context and involve the community as a partner, we can create a ground up methodology. 

Design is the expression of a community’s vision for change. The design process encourages community groups to set goals and work together to achieve them. By celebrating small victories along the way, community members are empowered to become stakeholders and to pursue larger long-term goals.

Benefits of a Small Works Methodology:

  • Environmentally and culturally appropriate design.
  • The removal of typical barriers to participation, such as formal hearings or forced locations.
  • Communication between different sectors and interests in the community, including government organizations, religious organizations and individuals.
  • The ability to convey complex ideas simply to expert and non-expert participants alike through the use of graphics and 3-D models and other visual presentations.
  • The prioritization of issues by and with those most affected by the decision-making process
  • Opportunities for skills training and advancement.
  • Greater local capacity for decision-making and economic development.
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How We Do it.


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How We Do it.


We have four main practice areas; Disaster Mitigation and Reconstruction; Poverty alleviation; Design innovation for at-risk populations and Design Activism. Typically each area requires different approaches to working and  team members. When approached to work on a project, we assemble the team, develop a scope of services and bring in strong partners.

Our services include;

Design and Construction

  • Needs assessment /site analysis
  • Community-based design process
  • Support on a capital campaign
  • Holistic design and green building practices
  • Contract documents/ bid/tender process
  • Construction oversight
  • Post-occupancy analysis

Development

  • Program development and administration
  • Creation of community design centers
  • Local labor & skills training
  • Risk and liability management
  • Assessment of financing models
  • Coordination of stakeholders
  • Identification and development of financing tools and models