January 28, 2019

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is…

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is…

… what are you doing for others?”  Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King asked this question in 1957 and for the remainder of his life. This perspective parallels Hideo Sasaki’s ethos that “contribution is the only value”. This past week, the Sasaki Foundation research teams were able to experience the generosity of what Sasaki employees are doing for others as they all spent a day in the Incubator at Sasaki working with the teams to help create solutions for their projects.

Each year, employees from Sasaki are entitled to spend one full day volunteering in the community. This year, twenty nine volunteers from the firm elected to work with Sasaki Foundation grantees to provide design expertise to their community projects, helping to strengthen and amplify their message and visualize their projects.

The buzz in the Incubator was contagious as each of the five Sasaki Foundation research teams spent the day explaining their projects to architects, landscape architects, ecologists, planners, strategists and communications staff resulting in the creation of a storyboard for their projects at the mid-point of their residency in the Incubator.

Please Touch the Art worked to define their campus experience at Mosesian Center for the Arts for visitors with limited vision, Charles River Floating Wetlands developed a design for their floating wetlands and planting strategy that will be sustainable, Eastie for Eastie explored what a managed retreat in East Boston might look like asking tough questions, ECHOLocator worked on mapping the neighborhoods where their software program will be rolled out and the G|Code House focused their work session on a day in the life of young women living and studying in the house as well as defining components of a typical curriculum.

“The team from Sasaki asked great questions and were able to really understand our idea, and help us figure out how to move forward with the design. They were able to take everything we have been thinking about and represent it visually in a way that tells the whole story”, said Max Rome, member of the Charles River Floating Wetlands team.

Eastie for Eastie


G|Code House


This design charrette – a day long brainstorm with a team of professional designers — is a compelling feature of the Sasaki Foundation Design Grants. Teams who apply for the grant are given the opportunity for design consulting from Sasaki through their time in the Incubator (September through June) as well as this focused day at the mid-point to enhance their project planning. The result is a narrative that can be used in community meetings and conversations with other partners and prospective funders.

The experience of participating in the design process is a core tenet of the Sasaki Foundation as part of our drive toward equity. How can we offer access to design to those who do not typically have it?  The input from Bridgette Wallace of G|Code House speaks to this opportunity. “The meeting was very useful, productive and fun! G|Code is honored to be a part of this inaugural Sasaki Foundation Design Grants cohort and its mission to include equity and inclusion in planning and design…It takes a village to do this work that we hope will be impactful and life changing.”

In connecting the issues of housing and mobility at the Foundation, the ECHOLocator team will benefit from the design charrette with a beautiful map that helps orient prospective low-income families about areas available to them in the region and access to primary transit stations. In addition, the Sasaki team has helped to create a small fold-out brochure for prospective landlords and other stakeholders that explains the benefits of the echo program and ECHOLocator tool.

This halfway point in the work of our first cohort is an exciting time as we can clearly see their progress and their enthusiasm for the experience.  At the end of February, the Sasaki Foundation will release its second Call for Proposals and in March will host an Open House in the Incubator to provide information for prospective applicants. Stay tuned for more details.



Stay updated with the latest stories, news, and events.