Chana Haouzi APB

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 that 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 the University of Illinois Chicago. 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 and serves on the board of the Associate for Community Design. 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 APB

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 APB

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 – APB

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. 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 holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Illinois at Chicago, summa cum laude, and will 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.


AC Manning  design fellow
AC Manning is a rising senior at Smith College from Brooklyn, NY, passionate about the power of the built environment to create and impact community. She studies the architecture of belonging through art history, urban sociology, and francophone studies, working towards a degree in Comparative World Literatures with a minor in Engineering. Despite their apparent differences, she believes these fields offer a strong basis to explore the dynamics between social and physical infrastructures. Last summer, AC completed the Urban Planning and Design track of Design Discovery at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where she developed a design plan for Jeffries Point in East Boston. The project focused on geographic unity and transforming the industrial waterfront into a mixed-use neighborhood center. She has spent the past year studying in France, completing coursework in social geography and a final project on the role of “city as campus” in Parisian student life.


Lev Ko  design fellow
Lev is an undergraduate Design Fellow at Architecture for Public Benefit. As a labor organizer and union steward in the Local 217 Connecticut food service and hospitality union, they are committed to working at the crux of architectural practice and organizing. Previously, Lev worked at Shanghai Change Design, an exhibition design firm partnered with Shanghai’s premier museums and galleries, where they assisted in the conceptual design, schematic design, project managerial duties, and the custom fabrication of artworks. They are pursuing a double major in Art Studio (Architecture) and East Asian Studies (Literature & Art) at Wesleyan University with a minor in Global Engagement. Their upcoming architecture thesis explores queer domesticity from a para-fictitious lens. 


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