Today, we reflect on the work and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the integral role he played in America and the world. We look to him and his activism as an example of inspiration for what we try to model as a firm daily.
At CRTKL, we established the Social Action Committee, a mechanism for doing pro-bono work, dedicated to driving our People, Planet, Positive Design vision in our communities. This initiative aims to create pathways for teams to organize focused projects and deliver design-led responses that have measurable positive impacts, connect us with our communities, and gain perspective on local, social, or civic issues.
Here are just a few projects that we have worked on:
Mount Auburn Elementary (Dallas, Texas)
Project Team: Angela Crum, Eric Bell
Mentors: Eduardo Castaneda
Back to School Surprise: CRTKL’s Social Action Committee Gifts Two Updated Staff Spaces to Mount Auburn Elementary
Mount Auburn Elementary School sits just minutes from our office in Dallas, Texas, and has recently completed an almost two-year construction upgrade. Unfortunately, not all of their spaces received a renovation, including the staff lounges.
CRTKL provided spaces allowing food prep, dining, planning, and, most importantly—respite.
We removed the existing tack boards and mirrors and patched and painted the walls with vibrant accent colors. We gave the rooms new furniture — donated from OFS, a manufacturer whose representative lives minutes from the school and delivered by Department of Wonder — and accessories to create an upgraded aesthetic. Interface, a local vendor, donated a large format carpet-tile rug to anchor the lounge area. Donated funds allowed us to provide new kitchen appliances, stock the kitchen with snacks and coffee and purchase artwork for accent wall features. We also had an in-house donation of framed artwork which gave the spaces a pop of much-needed color.
Safe Gorton (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Project Team: Brendan Todd
Mentors: Nicholas Spoor – Nikhil Stephen
Safe Gorton Community Garden, located in Manchester, England, is a project where the Social Action Committee worked with the local community to design and implement a community garden for learning, relaxation, and rehabilitation. SAFE Gorton, established in 2010, is a short 4-week music project aimed at local young people to help give them a voice, a purpose and ambition. Gorton is an area that falls within the top 10% of most deprived neighborhoods in England, where more than half of children live in poverty. Thanks to local volunteer support, a community garden flourishes, acting as a place of paradise in the middle of an inner-city suburb. CRTKL was able to help fund and create a covered space with a dual function of providing log/briquet seasoning space and a sheltered working area.
And here’s an ongoing project that we are excited about:
Community Fridge (London, United Kingdom)
Project Team: Michael Dillon – Tyra Pinto
Mentors: Simone Brand
CRTKL’s Social Action Committee worked with Albrighton Community Fridge, located in London, United Kingdom. Set up in 2017, The Community Fridge project aims to reduce food wastage amongst food retailers and households while simultaneously supporting those in need within the local community by providing food at no charge. In doing so, the project also provides employment, training, and volunteering opportunities and builds trust and a spirit of sharing within the community.
By CRTKL working with The Community Fridge, the Social Action Committee was able to design solutions that reduce the physical effort and time it takes to get food into the hands of those in need. By doing this, volunteers will be able to do their core work and engage with clients to address long-term needs. The solutions range from:
- The strategic – Improvement to operations
- Building interventions – minor alterations helped in loading/moving/storing
- Designed clever furniture solutions that reduce the sequence of operations.