aka. The "No A**hole" Policy

There is only one rule at Small Works - No A**hole Policy. First developed as a guiding principal at Architecture for Humanity this very simple ethos limits failure exponentially. It is a huge privilege to work on projects and it's important for all parties that there are no unnecessary distractions. All stakeholders should believe in dignity and respect for others - so no a**holes.

Don't work with them, don't take money from them and don't hire them.

When projects get bogged down in politics, external interests or ego the only group that suffers are the beneficiaries. There are enough hurdles that have to be overcome and many of the communities we serve have waited for years for a school, a clinic or even basic services to be implemented. Our role is to help guide the design and building process and to work alongside the community to realize these projects. While funds may come from others, our commitment is to them.

The Myths

We are just 'architects'
We believe that architecture embraces all facets of building in the built environment and encompasses the entire umbrella of design world. From architects, landscape architects, interior designers, industrial designers, engineers and even the occasional elephant migration expert we believe that you can make lasting change by bringing together all the stakeholders as partners in the design and building process. We also feel our clients, and building end users, should be the designers of their own destiny and we strongly encourage them to participate in the design and development phase.

We just design
While we push design as an incredible medium for innovative thinking and development, we understand that change doesn’t happen when it is left on paper. To implement these creative solutions we are involved in a huge range of things in order to see them realized. This includes community outreach, contract development, construction documentation, project administration, fund raising, post-construction assessments … the list goes on.

We only work outside of the United States
We have garnered recognition for work outside of the United States however we are working on a number of projects working with returning Vets as well as low income communities.

We only work on reconstruction projects
While our team isassociated with rebuilding after conflict or natural disaster, we are also involved in school building and health clinics, affordable housing as well as youth and community centers.

We work only with local community organizations
While we always partner with a local group or individuals on the ground, many of our projects include larger NGOs or funding agents.

We want to ‘save the planet’
We love what we do but… we are not saving the planet. We're just doing our part to make it better. Our role is to develop build-able solutions for communities, organizations and individuals who are out there every day trying to make adifference. We are fortunate to be a part of this process andhonored to be able to work alongside them.

We expect the community to build
Many of the structures we are involved in are built by community members. While they are paid for their services we do not expect them to build. We understand that development is a tool for financial stability and we use the construction process not only to keep funding in the community but, when possible, we train locals with new skills to elevate the standards of construction and to generate micro-businesses out of the process. In certain cases we help communities form local federations, small businesses and non-profit entities so they can manage the construction process and streamline the funding of projects.