John Peterson, architect, educator and activist, is a lecturer and the curator of the Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Peterson is also the founder of Public Architecture, a national nonprofit organization based in San Francisco. The organization’s work has been showcased at the Venice Architecture Biennale, MoMA, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the Benaki Museum in Athens, and the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. Public Architecture’s 1+ program challenges architecture and design firms to pledge a minimum of 1% of their time in pro bono services to nonprofits in need and has attracted participation from over 1600 firms nationwide. Public Architecture’s projects have been covered by national and international media; its ScrapHouse, a house built from only salvaged materials, was the subject of a National Geographic Channel documentary. The organization was a Harvard Business School case study in 2010 and has been supported by a long list of major funders.
Peterson’s work has appeared in several books and publications, including The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong, The New York Times, Architectural Record, Architect, Metropolis, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. He has contributed to books such as Expanding Design, Urban Interventions, and The Power of Pro Bono. Peterson led the architectural practice Peterson Architects from 1993 to 2010 and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin and California College of the Arts. A recipient of numerous design and social innovation awards, Peterson has played an important part in defining the concept of “public interest design.” He holds degrees in fine arts and architecture from Rhode Island School of Design and was a 2006 Loeb Fellow.