ACT Headquarters

Learn more about ACT.

ACT (Advocates for Community Transformation) is an inner-city justice ministry based in West DallasACT’s mission is to represent inner-city residents and mobilize volunteer legal teams in order to hold the owners of drug houses and abandoned properties accountable.  In order to continue seeking transformation in the neighborhoods that need it most, ACT has determined that it is crucial to establish a permanent presence in West Dallas.  For this reason, ACT came to [bc] to design a new office that meets the growing group’s needs at the center of the communities it serves.  

Construction is set to begin on the office in 2015.

See photos of ACT on Facebook!

Visibly Making an Impact

Learn more about sustainABLEhouse in the RGV.

Still in its first year, sustainABLEhouse LRGV, in partnership with Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB), has worked with 23 families (totalling 64 people) from 17 different neighborhoods throughout Cameron County. Each family is an integral part of the design process, helping to guide design decisions beginning with the layout of their house and ending with the selection of colors and finishes.

Seven homes are currently under construction, ranging from foundation preparation to final energy efficiency inspection. Two more homes are scheduled to begin construction by the end of July with a steady stream of construction start dates to follow. bcWORKSHOP staff in both the Dallas and Brownsville offices have been working on this effort. We share the responsibilities of design, design reviews, construction drawings, and refinement of program goals and practices. Client meetings and construction administration are carried out by the Brownsville office.

Our design process is initiated by the clients. They elect to work with us by agreeing to complete a brief homework assignment before we sit down to focus on design. The homework is a booklet of questions asking the client such things as general family information, how they use space inside and outside their home, and specific needs that the design can help address. The design process varies depending on if the client chooses a catalog home design or the custom design process.

After our design process and after bcWORKSHOP has completed the construction drawings, we meet with the client and the contractor to discuss the goals of the design, the construction drawings, and the construction process. Once construction begins, bcWORKSHOP regularly visits each home with CDCB’s construction manager. Together we look over the work with the contractor and address any issues. In addition to checking progress, construction visits are an opportunity to document and share how a house comes together. Photos from these construction visits serve as a communication tool for our clients on how their home is constructed and as a teaching and learning tool within bcWORKSHOP.

The immediate goals for sustainABLEhouse LRGV are to continue expanding and evolving our home design catalog, assist CDCB in their outreach strategies, and help more families throughout the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Design for Community Advocates

Learn more about our Dallas work.

ACT (Advocates for Community Transformation) is an inner-city justice ministry based in West Dallas. ACT’s mission is to represent inner-city residents and mobilize volunteer legal teams in order to hold the owners of drug houses and abandoned properties accountable.  ACT’s legal work addresses this need through an ongoing casework approach supported by a strategy for structural prevention. In order to continue seeking transformation in these neighborhoods, ACT has determined that it is crucial to establish a permanent presence in West Dallas by building its own office. The new office will allow the organization to grow its work as well as demonstrate that ACT is committed long-term to the West Dallas community.

bcWORKSHOP has begun the process to design a new headquarters for Advocates for Community Transformation. This process has involved a series of staff and stakeholder meetings to determine project intentions, building program, and site strategy. The goal is to ensure that the building is driven by and enhances ACT’s mission and responds to the West Dallas context and community.

From a quality model exercise, priorities identified for the design included:

  • Interior qualities - The ACT team needs an environment that supports its work with quiet places to concentrate as well as team orientated spaces where collaborations flourish.  Carefully placed thresholds will allow ACT to showcase its work to visitors as well as maintain confidentiality of its strategy and clients. The office should feel welcoming, homelike and safe to all employees, guests and clients.
  • Safety/Security - The building and property needs to be safe and secure for all employees,guests and clients. Measures such as a secure building envelope, secure thresholds, clear separations between private and public spaces and additional security technology will all be explored to create the necessary level of safety for the site and building.
  • Engineering Performance - Heating and cooling systems should be chosen based on efficiency and life cycle costs. A robust and flexible IT infrastructure will insure technical connectivity throughout the entire building.
  • Community Values - The project should reflect ACT’s commitment to being a stable presence in the community as well as a safe place for its clients and staff. The building is a physical investment in the neighborhood that should reflect ACT’s mission to transform communities through thoughtful and diligent work.The scale and intimacy of the building should reflect its neighborhood.

Three schematic design options have been created by bcW and presented to key stakeholders.  In the upcoming months bcW, with direction from ACT and an approved budget, will further develop the building strategy. Once the schematic design is approved, bcWORKSHOP will compile a funding package featuring the proposed building, design process, and a preliminary budget.

Neighborhood Stories - Arts District

Learn more about POP Dallas and Neighborhood Stories.

On October 27-28, 2012, bcWORKSHOP was a part of a monumental project for Dallas: the grand opening of Klyde Warren Park. The celebration commemorated an innovative park that decks over a portion of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, providing valuable new civic space and connecting Uptown and the Dallas Arts District.

bcWORKSHOP had a substantial presence at the park opening, engaging visitors on Harwood Street around our POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative as they passed between the new park and the Arts District. The centerpiece was a Dallas Neighborhood Stories exhibit inside our 45’ retrofitted shipping container that examined the evolution of today’s Arts District from its origins as the juncture of the Freedman’s Town/North Dallas, Little Mexico, and Ross Avenue neighborhoods, and how major interventions - the construction of Central Expressway, the construction of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, and the master plan for the Arts District - affected physical and social change.

The POP City Map also made an appearance; more than 200 people marked their Dallas neighborhoods, with dozens more showing their pride in places from Irving and Lancaster to Brazil and France. Finally, hundreds of revelers shared pictures and stories about where they live on the container itself and on camera in the Story House.

The weekend affirmed how strongly people identify and connect with their neighborhoods as well as the importance of understanding the decisions and actions that have shaped our city over time. We had a great time at the opening and look forward to bringing our exhibit back to the Arts District soon!

Welcome Iona Bruckner!

Iona Bruckner is a designer, teacher, and activist. She is interested in creating inspiring, sustainable built environments with and for a wide range of people. While leading a design-build project in the Yucatan, she saw how collaborative design was able to produce results that were beautiful, useful and cherished by the community they served. Iona holds a bachelor’s degree from Bennington College and a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Texas. She has taught sustainable technologies in architecture at Philadelphia University and has a certificate in sustainable design from the Ecosa Institute. Her professional experience includes practice in green and participatory design with project involvement including residential, education and planning. As a design fellow at bcWORKSHOP she is thrilled to be working with a group of people who share her same mission to create quality places for underserved families and communities.