On May 29, AIANY announced the 2019 class of the Civic Leadership Program (CLP). Frank Ball, who’s been with ESKW/Architects a little over two years, is among the 10 civically minded emerging architecture professionals who will participate in this six-month mentorship, training, and career development program.
The CLP’s primary goal is for participants to develop the necessary skills to engage in the civic process. In order to help design professionals better represent the people they and their projects serve, it aims to increase architects’ connection to their communities, develop their advocacy capacities, and support their pursuit of public service potentially in elected or appointed office.
Frank learned of the program from our new hire Daniel Horn, who completed the program in 2017 and was an advisor in 2018. Coincidentally, his participation in CLP led Daniel to ESKW/A. The 2017 CLP Development Session engaged in a study of homeless shelter design and toured Landing Road where he met Partners Kimberly Murphy and Andrew Knox, who hosted the session. With Daniel’s encouragement, Frank put together an application which included a letter of recommendation from Andrew Knox. Check out the graphic below for a winding timeline of the steps he took to earn his spot.“Frank is awesome. Focused, engaged, and extremely curious,” Andrew said. “What makes Frank special is that his pursuit of learning seems to directly follow his engagement with the public spirit and community-oriented side of architecture.”
Indeed, his interest in CLP stemmed from a desire to be better at serving the community and our clients. “I heard a speaker at the Center for Architecture say once that architects can be the last line of defense for when policy fails,” said Frank. “So, it’s important to become better at influencing policy and engaging with the community.”
For example, many of our quality supportive housing projects address the homelessness crisis—which is really a policy issue, Frank explained. Or as a more extreme example, our school projects require furniture layouts that provide hiding spaces during an active shooter event—which is really a gun control and mental health issue, not an architectural one, he added.
Frank has already attended the first of the CLP monthly sessions, and after the 6-month program, he’ll apply to become a CLP advisor as well. Given our body of work at ESKW/A, we couldn’t be more supportive of our staff leaning into issues that impact our clients’ missions. Being part of the conversation leads to designs that contribute deeply to a higher, more humane quality of life.
“It’s a lot of really great, motivated people. I’m really proud to be in it,” he said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if more ESKW/A employees did it too, and I hope they do.”
Frank Ball is an Architectural Designer at ESKW/Architects and is part of the PS32K and Cortelyou Road teams. Frank began working with us as a student intern while completing his degree from Pratt Institute.