Chana Haouzi, AIA founder and principal
Chana Haouzi is an architect, educator, and founder of Architecture for Public Benefit. She is passionate about solving spatial challenges through strategic thinking and collaboration. With comprehensive experience in design, documentation, and construction administration, Chana thrives in crafting a clear vision and carrying it through to project completion. For example, Chana led the community engagement, design, and construction of a More Than Words Bookstore and Warehouse, a project which was recognized by the Boston Society for Architecture 2020 Awards. She is a fierce advocate that good design can and should be for everyone and has partnered with various mission-driven organizations including Brookline and Boston Public Libraries, Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence, Aaron's Presents, and YouthBuild. Chana has been teaching since 2014 and is currently leading design studios at the University of Chicago’s Art History Department and Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture. Prior to these roles, Chana served as an Associate Teaching Professor of Design for Environmental Justice and Public Good in the Built Environment at Northeastern School of Architecture. Chana holds a Master in Architecture II from Harvard University, a Master of Architecture, and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from McGill University. She is an active member of the American Institute of Architects, Women in Design, and the Architecture Lobby. She is the recipient of the 2022 AIA Young Architects Award which recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exceptional leadership and made significant contributions to the architecture profession early in their careers.
Matthew Okazaki principal
Matthew is a designer, strategist, and principal at Architecture for Public Benefit. His interest lies in the process and underlying strategies involved with solving complex problems throughout systems of various scale. By understanding a problem as a combination of spatial, programmatic, operational, and financial elements, Matthew utilizes his background in both qualitative and quantitative analysis and strategic thinking to help develop thoughtful solutions for mission-driven organizations. He has worked with numerous public and non-profit entities such as the Oakland Unified School District, the San Francisco Planning Department, The Nature Conservancy, and The Center for Independent Documentary. He holds a Master of Architecture with commendation from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics from UCLA. Matthew is an active member of The Architecture Lobby, an organization that advocates for more socially relevant and civic-minded architecture, and is a Lecturer in Fine Arts at Brandeis University where he teaches architecture and design studios. Previously, he has held teaching positions at Northeastern University and Tufts University.
Akima Brackeen community design director
Akima is a designer, educator, and researcher dedicated to promoting justice within the built environment. She is a Community Designer Director at Architecture for Public Benefit and Assistant Professor at University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign. Previously, she worked on multi-family affordable housing projects in the offices of David Baker Architects in San Francisco, California, and collaborated on a proposal for an art education center at MASS Design in Kigali, Rwanda. Her research focuses on water access and challenging racial perceptions and values of waterscapes aiming to transform engagement with contested sites through speculative interventions, narrative generation and community activations. She was the inaugural Rowe Fellow at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, where she led undergraduate housing studios and a seminar classes. Akima consistently leverages design, research and teaching to serve as advocate for other women and people of color, and collaborate with organizations that strive to positively impact the community.
Olivia Lewis architectural designer
Olivia is an undergraduate student and architectural designer at Architecture for Public Benefit. She is interested in exploring sensorial experiences in interior architecture through the renovation and restoration of existing structures. Olivia designs to connect people to impactful spaces and meet the needs of their communities. Olivia designed a community center in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood during a studio class titled Society of Rooms, led by Abby Chang, a visiting assistant professor at UIC. The project introduced a social hub, art rooms, and public offices to benefit the local community, with each space distinguishing itself through changes in color intensity and texture. Olivia has received the Susan Nealy Scholarship Award and the Kevin K. Pierce Scholarship Award for an outstanding third-year undergraduate project. She has worked on multiple projects during the 2021 Chicago Architecture Biennial under the direction of David Brown, artistic director of the 2021 biennial, and Antonio Torres, co-founder and principal of Bittertang Farm. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is expected to graduate in May 2023 summa cum laude. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Master of Architecture. Olivia is a member of the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), having previously held a board member position as Event Coordinator for the UIC chapter. She also proudly represents the interests of the fourth-year architecture class on the Student Advisory Board for the third consecutive year.