The One Percent

The 1% pro bono design program of Public Architecture

The 1% program of Public Architecture connects nonprofit organizations in need of design assistance with architecture and design firms willing to donate their time pro bono. The 1% program seeks to increase the quality and quantity of pro bono design.

Designer Overview

The 1% program asks architecture and design firms nationwide to dedicate one percent of their working hours to pro bono service.

Join the movement

1000 architecture and design firms across the U.S. have already pledged their time through The 1% program, delivering an estimated $38 million in pro bono services yearly.

Participating firms

The 1% program has attracted a range of firms, from sole proprietors to some of the largest firms in the country. Design firms of all kinds and sizes are welcome to pledge and participate.

Pro bono defined

The 1% program defines pro bono service to be professional services rendered in the public interest without expectation of a fee or with a significant reduction in fees.

Pro bono clients

The 1% program focuses primarily on 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations as appropriate pro bono clients. These organizations have been relieved of their tax burden in recognition of the societal benefit that they provide.

Designer How it Works

The 1%, a program of The 1% program is a national venue for firms to document their pro bono contributions, gain recognition, and find new project opportunities.

Step 1: Register your firm and pledge your 1%.
The 1% program asks that firms dedicate a minimum of 1% of their working hours to pro bono service. That amounts to just 20 hours per employee per year.

Step 2: Complete your profile and post past projects.
Your firm’s profile on The 1% website can tell a story about your past contributions, project interests, and availability to take on new projects.

Step 3: Find projects and connect with nonprofits.
As a participant of The 1% program, you have the ability to see all the listings of nonprofit projects currently registered, while registered nonprofits have the ability to contact your firm.

Nonprofit Overview

The 1% program starts with the premise that nonprofits need and deserve facilities and work environments that are aligned with their mission and values.

Typical organization challenges

  • Cost constraints required you to move into a lackluster office space that is uncomfortable and uninspiring for staff and visitors.
  • Potential funders are hesitant to support your capital campaign without a clear understanding and vision of your facility needs.
  • You recently outgrew your office space or will need more space soon.
  • Your office space doesn’t comply with accessibility and health standards.
  • First impressions when visiting your office are inconsistent with your culture and mission.

High-impact organization solutions through The 1%

  • Renovate your existing office space to align your environment with your ongoing activities, program needs, and service offerings.
  • Develop capital campaign materials that capture the essence of your new facilities and compel funders to support your project.
  • Select an office location and space that accommodates your needs and trajectory.
  • Design your office space to have optimal conditions for accessibility, productivity, and comfort.
  • Convey your mission through your office space, so that all visitors have positive first and lasting impressions of your organization.

Nonprofit How It Works

The 1% program is a venue for nonprofits to tell their stories, document their facilities needs, and find design firms willing to give their time. Here is how your nonprofit can get started.

Step 1: Register your nonprofit and request your 1%.
This is a simple first step, requesting basic information about your organization. It is also an opportunity to describe your mission and either confirm your 501(c)(3) nonprofit status or identify your fiscal sponsor.

Step 2: Complete your profile and post your project needs.
Once registered, you will immediately enter “My 1%,” which provides an opportunity to describe your facilities needs and which of the pro bono service offerings provided by participating firms you are seeking.

Step 3: Find firms willing to give of their time.
Having registered your nonprofit with The 1% program, you have the ability to see a complete list of registered architecture and design firms. With the click of a button, you can send your project request for firms’ consideration.

The 1% identifies firms committed to service.

The program asks that firms dedicate a minimum of 1% of their working hours to pro bono service. The program is open to architecture and design firms of all kinds and throughout the country.

The 1% catalogs firms’ pro bono intentions.

The program enables registered firms to catalog and describe their pro bono contributions, project interests, and availability to take on new projects, helping your nonprofit find the best match.

The 1% helps firms find you.

The program enables registered firms to view your nonprofit’s full profile. Just as your nonprofit is seeking assistance, many firms may be eagerly seeking project opportunities.

Completed Projects

DLS Front 1 SIGN

Day Labor Station


National Day Labor Organizing Network


Day Labor Station Design Concept

Project Description

The Day Labor Station was a prototypical steel building kit structure, which was used to house day laborers as they waited for employers to provide them with temporary work, including operating some of the heavy equipment used for this project. The structure utilizes green building materials and strategies and will exist primarily off-grid. The building design was based on a series of interviews with day laborers conducted by Public Architecture, and was meant to respond to the needs and desires of the day laborers as clients. The commercial metal building structure was designed to be flexible enough to serve various uses, including as an employment center, office, classroom, and became a prototype for similar locations.

Firehouse clinic

Firehouse Clinic


Alameda County, California


Blue Shield; California HealthCare Foundation

Project Description

Firehouse Clinics developed a more accessible model of health care services by co-locating medical clinics constructed from modular buildings on the grounds of existing fire station sites, thus leveraging existing assets to keep the costs low in well-known locations, underutilized space, and the public’s trust. Public Architecture developed guidelines to help identify a focus set of high-priority fire station sites and matched pro bono services to design a clinic prototype.


Accessory Dwelling Unit


Santa Cruz, California


City of Santa Cruz

Project Description

Public Architecture’s ADU developed a more formal design campaign after learning about low cost, high-performance 500 sq ft detached single-story shipping container units. These units were a welcome alternative to the portable office trailers previously in use. The City of Santa Cruz wanted to produce a Garage Conversion Manual for the city’s ADU program. The manual featured eight prototypes, which were developed by Public Architecture, as well as assistance to understand technical issues, layout, renewable solar panel power generation and other topics relevant to the planning and design of a garage conversion project.

17th x Castro

17th and Castro Plaza


San Francisco, California


City of San Francisco

Project Description

The design for the temporary installation of the 17th and Castro Plaza used simple and often salvaged – materials and methods in order to test, adjust, and evaluate the project, while gathering metrics and stakeholder interviews to inform the future permanent plaza design.

TAF 18 Office

TAF Community Learning Space


Seattle, Washington


Technology Access Foundation

Project Description

Public Architecture assisted The Miller Hull Partnership in identifying the ways in which material reuse could be woven into TAF’s new industrial steel building. The results are visible everywhere, from decommissioned Seattle road signs as exterior cladding to an entry bridge made of wood beams salvaged from locally deconstructed barndominium housing. The reclaimed materials contributed to the beauty, character, and social and environmental sustainability of the project and it also supports TAF’s science education programs, with the building itself serving as a teaching tool.

Future Projects

Do you have an amazing idea that Public Architecture could help with? Below are two examples of projects we are very interested in exploring but we are open to any possibilities that are worthwhile. Please contact us today to discuss your project.

school choice modular classrooms

School Choice Facilities


United States

Project Description

School choice facilities allow public education money to fund students to the schools or services that best fit their needs —whether that’s to a public school, private school, charter school, home school or any other learning environment families choose. In order to keep up with this growing demand, schools need to be constructed with either traditional or alternative modular schools that offer numerous benefits including lower cost and speed.

If You are interested in donating your time for this project, please contact us.

Employment Program Modular Office Facilities

Employment Program Facilities


United States

Project Description

Employment program facilities can be constructed with modular offices to provide the much needed space to create valuable programs that aids in individuals finding employers willing to provide them with jobs that are mutually beneficial. Examples of such employment programs are disabled job seekers, school to work transition or vocational rehabilitation.

If You are interested in donating your time for this project, please contact us.



John Alexander Chief Building Architect

John Alexander

Chief Building Architect @ Green Building Elements

Rhode Island School of Design

The 1% Supporters

Completed projects by Public Architecture through the 1% participants include the below foundations, firms, companies, and visionary individuals (just like you) to use the design of the built environment as a tool for social gain.

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Cummings Foundation 1
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brick logo
UF black logo
Gerbode Foundation Logo
rhd 1
Reis Foundation Logo
AnnieECaseylogox2 1 1
AIA Logo
Skyline Design
shaw contract group high res
orrick logo
Novedge 1
nea lockup A
Milliken Logo New 1
Long and Levit llp logo 1
knight logo 3000
Anna Kauffman
humanscale logo
Holcim LOGO MAS 3C
Herman Miller r1
haworth logo 1
Barbara Franzoia

Contact Us About Becoming a 1% Participant