Elizabeth (Liz) Ogbu’s professional and academic work has focused on how to leverage design to address larger issues around social, economic, and political inequities. Ogbu is associate design director at Public Architecture, a national nonprofit that mobilizes designers to create positive social change. Part of the leadership team, she directs the organization’s public-interest design initiatives and consultancy practice, which creatively address critical environmental and social-justice issues.Ogbu currently leads the organization’s involvement in the Day Labor Station, an innovative design and advocacy campaign that works with day laborers across the country as clients and seeks to address issues of space, dignity, and community.
Her work with Public Architecture has won numerous design awards including the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction’s 2009 Global Innovation Prize for the Day Labor Station. Leveraging the expertise of leading architecture, engineering, and public health firms, she directed the development of a sustainability framework guide for International Planned Parenthood Federation’s Bolivian affiliate. She also served as project director of the U.S. Green Building Council-funded Design for Reuse Primer. An e-publication, the primer is intended to demystify and inspire mainstream material reuse. In addition to her work with Public Architecture, Ogbu works on independent art and architecture projects as a senior designer in the collective FOURM design+build+educate. At CCA Ogbu teaches a seminar that examines cross-disciplinary interpretations of the spatial manifestations of migration. She also is a member of CCA’s URBANlab. Most recently, she served as an adviser to a studio sponsored by Public Architecture that examined new definitions of social space in a dynamic but resource challenged neighborhood in San Francisco. Ogbu is also regarded as a leading voice in issues of sustainable (social, economic, and environmental) design as well as the spatial conditions of challenged urban environments. She has authored numerous articles and papers as well as spoken throughout the country and internationally. Ogbu served as members of both the 2010 AIA COTE Top Ten and USGBC Natural Talent Design Competition juries. In 2008 she was selected as part of the inaugural class of “Green Giants” by Steelcase, Inc. for her work in promoting environmentally and socially sustainable design.