Wendy MacNaughton nominated designer, social innovator and urbanist Liz Ogbu:
"I met Liz Ogbu over ten years ago when she was working at the firm Public Architecture. She had just completed a behemoth project in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco where she transformed a busy intersection into an urban park that sits smack in the middle of that street (impressive feature in our often nay-saying town.) She was just starting on a project designing stations for day-laborers that went on to win every award under the sun. I know nothing of architecture, but my background is in art and social work, so i was hugely impressed by Liz’s work - to her, architecture is not about making buildings, it’s about addressing human needs.
Liz now runs her own firm, Studio O, and is involved in projects all over the world - from delivering sanitation to low-income communities in Ghana to redesigning affordable housing in Charlottesville, North Carolina - all while teaching at Stanford and CCA. She brings such a huge heart and brain to her work - using her expertise while recognizing the expertise of the people she works with, using the public’s knowledge and experience as the foundation for the work. A lot of lip service is paid to this kind of approach these days, but she’s been the real thing for years. I still don’t know anything about architecture, but i know Liz is doing great work. i’m a huge fan."
Liz Ogbu and her work
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