Architecture is never neutral. It either heals or hurts. Our mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity.
"The question is not what is the cost of architecture, but what is the cost of not having architecture."
—Paul Farmer, Founder of Partners In Health
MASS designs innovative buildings that improve people’s lives in measurable ways. We create environments that promote health and dignity. Throughout the construction process, we collaborate with the communities our buildings will serve, approaching every project as a chance to invest in their future. Our portfolio of design services includes architectural design, master planning, landscape architecture, and strategic planning.
MASS advances a movement that demands more from architecture. We question how architecture functions and who it serves. We find new ways to tell the whole story of the architectural process, the people who build, and the communities and individuals who are affected. We believe that fostering public awareness of the way architecture can hurt or heal is essential to changing what people expect from the built environment.
MASS investigates how architecture affects lives. We are committed to understanding the short- and long-term ripple effects made by architectural decisions at all scales—for inhabitants, clients, communities, and societies. We develop methodologies to measure and analyze the built environment in order to unlock architecture's potential to heal. And whenever possible, we test and select building materials and construction methods that are locally fabricated, environmentally favorable, and promote just processes of construction.
MASS empowers emerging leaders with our methodology. Our approach can be replicated anywhere in the world. We pass on our knowledge through courses, lectures, and hands-on skill-building workshops. In Rwanda, we have supported the launch of the African Design Center, an institute driving high-impact design across the continent.
MASS began in 2008 during the design and building of the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda; a project of Partners In Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health. Since then, MASS has expanded to work in over a dozen countries in Africa and the Americas. Our work spans the design of buildings, research, policy, education, and strategic planning.
Architecture is not neutral; it either helps or hurts. Architecture is a mechanism that projects its values far beyond a building’s walls and into the lives of communities and people. To acknowledge that architecture has this kind of agency and power is to acknowledge that buildings, and the industry that erects them, are as accountable for social injustices as they are critical levers to improve the communities they serve.
The stakes are too high, and the accountability too low, not to insist that architects do something to address these challenges. This is why we started MASS Design Group.
We set up MASS as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to create a model of practice optimized to deliver maximum impact to our partners and the communities they serve.