Project H Design | a 501c3 nonprofit organization
Design for education for tomorrow
Design. Build. Transform.
Visit the dedicated Studio H website and blog for the latest project news! >>
Studio H is a public high school “design/build” program, begun in Bertie County, NC and now based at Realm Charter School in Berkeley, CA that sparks community development through real-world, built projects. By learning through a design sensibility, applied core subjects, and industry-relevant construction skills, students develop the creative capital, critical thinking, and citizenship necessary for their own success and for the future of their communities.
Over the course of one Studio H term, students earn high school credit and build the community project they have designed and prototyped. Studio H is a different kind of classroom. We design, build, and transform.
Studio G is a one-of-a-kind design and building summer camp for girls ages 9-12 that sparks creativity and curiosity through hands-on building, problem-solving, and meaningful making. Girls will cut plywood with a jigsaw, fuse metal with a welder, and create projects of personal and social relevance. Studio G’s instructors are female architects, designers, creative educators, and graduates of our Studio H high school design/build program.
Integrating science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) skills, Studio G projects build confidence, grit, and the belief that everything is possible in life and in the world. Studio G camp “graduates” will be equipped to communicate audacious ideas through their creative voice, transform their communities through active building, and go forth confidently into higher education and careers.
Summer 2013 Camp Schedule:
Week 1: July 8-12 (Wood)
Week 2: July 15-19 (Metal)
- Camp Guide (.pdf)
- Release Form (.pdf)
- Informational Poster (.pdf)
- Print-and-mail Registration Form, includes Release Form (.pdf)
- FAQs (coming soon)
- Scholarship Form – Please email Emily Pilloton, Camp Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
A educational playground system that can be built for free anywhere in the world.
Visit the dedicated Learning Landscape Network and game database >>.
The Learning Landscape is a playground framework for elementary learning that teaches core subjects, social skills, and leadership through game play and fun physical activity! The easy-to-build playspace and network of games for multiple subjects can be integrated into any school curriculum to improve student learning capacities.
We design and build educational environments for public schools to engage students, excite new sensibilities, and efficiently meet functional requirements. We know from experience and our own metrics that improved physical surroundings can lead to improved performance, engagement, and collaboration for both students and teachers. Some examples of our environmental designs for schools include a pod-based scheme for safer (no rats nests of cords!) and more convivial technology-based learning spaces, streamlined desks for computer instruction, an open-circulation weight room for athletic teams, and more. Often our Educational Environments projects are done on limited budgets, using our own hands and local materials as budget-friendly resources.
Workshops and Consulting
For school districts, teachers, and nonprofits, we run “quickfire” workshops for rapid prototyping of design-based lesson plans, curricular development, and creativity training. Our workshops are “magical chaos,” often employing modules for creation such as “speed-date prototyping,” “blitzkrieg brainstorming,” and more. Workshops in the past have been led at the Maryland Institute College of Art (see recap and results here), North Carolina New Schools Project, and others. We also provide more focused consulting and curriculum development for project-based and design-based learning.
Every now and then, a passionate group of volunteer designers, friends of Project H, and other creative activists in our network join forces to design quick, appropriate, beautiful solutions for local nonprofits and communities. These local interventions operate under the credo “we design with, not for,” using a democratic design process to co-create something great with a local partner. Initiatives have included Abject Object, a homeless-run craft enterprise called in Los Angeles; Safe Spaces, a more therapeutic interior design scheme built out for a foster care home in Austin; EduAction, engagement boards for classroom instruction in Seattle, Furniture for Rural Schools, a building blitz of desks and chairs for elementary schools outside of Mexico City; compost bins for an urban farm in San Francisco; storage solutions for a children’s hospital; kitchen tables for refugees recently relocated to the Bay Area; and many others.
A special thanks to our partners and affiliates on these local response projects:
Project H uses the power of creativity, design, and hands-on building to amplify the raw brilliance of youth, transform communities, and improve K-12 public education from within. Our programs teach rigorous design iteration, tinkering, applied arts and sciences, and vocational building skills to give young people the creative, technical, and leadership tools necessary to make positive, long-lasting change in their lives and their communities. Our youth-led public design projects are rooted in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) content to connect in-school learning to out-of-school possibility. We believe that design is a powerful medium that is an active response to a context, a personal expression, a physical challenge, and a social act that builds citizenship in the next generation. Exploring the intersection of physical sciences, engineering, architecture, design, social justice, and community development, projects built by our youth include an award-winning 2,000-square-foot farmers market structure, iconic downtown landmarks, farmstands, playgrounds, school gardens, an obstacle course, public chicken coops, and their own learning facilities.
Project H is a tax exempt 501c3 nonprofit corporation. (In case you’re wondering, the “H” stands for the core values that guide our work: Humanity, Habitats, Health, Happiness, Heart, Hands, and more)
If You Build It is a full-length documentary film that chronicles the students, projects, and work of our Studio H high school design/build program. Made by acclaimed filmmakers Patrick Creadon and Christine O’Malley, along with executive producer Neal Baer, If You Build It tells the stories of 13 students from Bertie County, North Carolina, who dreamed up a beautiful solution that would change the face of their hometown, then went out and built all 2,000 square feet of it. As their instructors, we were honored to work with them and lead them along the journey. The story exemplifies the power of hands-on education, the raw brilliance of youth, and the impact a few budding creative minds can have on the future of a community.
>> Join us for a sneak peek screening on Tuesday, May 28th in Berkeley, CA (tickets and info here).
>> Contact the filmmakers for more info on screenings and the upcoming theatrical release (info here).
View the trailer:
> May 28, 2013: Join us in Berkeley for a sneak peek screening of “If You Build It,” a full-length documentary made about Studio H. Details here.
> April 26, 2013: Project H Design is awarded the New York School of Interior Design’s Green Design Award for Advocacy/Community. Read details here.
> April 24, 2013: Project H is awarded $30,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts for our Studio H program. Read the press release here.
> December 6, 2012: Founder Emily Pilloton publishes TED e-book Tell Them I Built This: Transforming Schools, Communities, and Lives through Design-Based Education. Read details here.
Watch Founder Emily Pilloton’s TED Talk about the
Fall 2010 launch of the Studio H design/build high school program in Bertie County, North Carolina.
[link to video on TED.com]
Emily Pilloton, Founder and Executive Director, Studio H Instructor
Emily founded Project H to use design to empower people, and to get her hands dirty after too many years in an office. Trained in architecture (UC Berkeley) and product design (SAIC), Emily believes in design as an honest process of building and activism for community benefit. Most days she resides in the Studio H classroom/shop with her high school students, but travels occasionally for lectures and workshops around the world. A California girl, runner, border collie lover, and unwavering optimist, she has appeared on the TED stage and the Colbert Report, and authored the book Design Revolution.
Matthew Miller, Project Manager, Studio H Instructor
West Virginia born and bred, Matthew Miller is Project H’s “MacGyver-in-residence.” An accomplished fabricator and metalworker, he has worked for several emerging practices including Architecture for Humanity and his own HousingOperative, studied at the Bauhaus, and holds degrees in architecture from the University of Tennessee and Cranbrook Academy of Art. He has taught at RISD, the College of Creative Studies and UC Berkeley. Matt is the ultimate designer/builder, with a range of projects extending from the ghettos of Detroit to the agrarian slopes of southwestern Uganda.
Contractors, Partners, and Affiliates
Board of Directors
Emily Pilloton, Executive Director, Project H Design
Emily Ritter, Square
Laura Galloway, Galloway Media Group
Sarah Rich, Writer and design journalist
Paul Donald, Branch Home
Advisors, Friends, and Cheerleaders
Alex Steffen, Worldchanging
John Bielenberg, Project M
Susan Szenasy, Metropolis Magazine
John Cary, Next American City
Joe Gebbia, Ecolect & AirBnB
Allan Chochinov, Core77
Valerie Casey, Designers Accord
Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity
Ric Grefe, AIGA
Amy Novogratz, TED
Mark Breitenberg, California College of the Arts
Project H Design
PO Box 12021
San Rafael, CA
Get updates and news!
Project H Design is a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit organization. All donations made after January 8, 2008 are tax-deductible. Each year, a significant portion of our funding comes from individual donors like you, who contribute $10, $50, $100 dollars that go directly to our project costs (Our average donation last year was $87). Your support pays for things like building materials for Studio H, tools, technology, and our students’ stipends for their work. We are dependent on and grateful for your ongoing support for what we do! There are 2 ways to make a tax-deductible contribution to Project H Design:
2) Mail a check to Project H Design, PO Box 12021, San Rafael, CA 94912
3) Contribute your materials or other in-kind donations. We are always in need of classroom materials, tools, equipment, and technology, particularly for our Studio H high school program. Email us at email@example.com if you would like to donate materials.
Thank you thank you thank you for making our programming possible year after year.