Cal Poly Architecture Faculty Member Receives Humanitarian Award

SAN LUIS OBISPO — A Cal Poly faculty member and architect has been recognized for making significant humanitarian contributions to society by the American Institute of Architects, California Council.

Andrew Goodwin, who teaches architecture in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design (CAED) and owns the San Luis Obispo-based design consultancy firm Andrew Goodwin Designs, was named a 2017 recipient of the Norma Sklarek Award. Goodwin will be honored Feb. 5 at Cal Poly by Paul Welch, former executive vice president of the American Institute of Architects, California Council. The event, which is open to the public, will be held at 6 p.m. in the KTGY Gallery in Engineering West (No. 21), Room 105.

The AIACC Board of Directors confers the award on an architect in recognition of his or her social responsibility. The program was started in 2014 in honor of the late Norma Sklarek, who in 1954 became the first African American woman to earn an architecture license.

Through his pro-bono work, his firm and his contributions to curriculum, Goodwin continues to be an advocate for awareness and social change, the organization stated in announcing the award.

“I am humbled by the company that I keep with the other award winners and the award’s namesake herself,” Goodwin said. “Over the past 10 years I have seen a lot of ups and downs in the economy, my businesses and my personal life. It means a lot to have someone recognize the work I do, when sometimes it is hard to see through the weeds as you are standing in them.”

Goodwin started participating about 10 years ago in architectural competitions for housing the homeless in the skid row area of Los Angeles through the use of innovative building systems such as shipping containers. 

For the past few years, he’s collaborated with the Skid Row Housing Trust as part of the third-year architectural studio that he teaches at Cal Poly. The Skid Row Housing Trust, a nonprofit that provides permanent supportive housing for homeless individuals, was also honored with the Norma Sklarek Award for collaborating within the architecture profession to directly affect the betterment of society.

In the design studio, Goodwin tasks third-year students to envision a supportive housing project for the community in Skid Row, with the Skid Row Housing Trust, the Downtown Women’s Center in Los Angeles, or Transitions – Mental Health Association in San Luis Obispo, as his students’ client and point of contact for their work.

“The amount of exposure my students have to the profession and the greater issues in our society after they participate in my studio is important to me,” Goodwin said, “because I don’t want to train architects but rather decent and caring adults. In my opinion, this is one of the best attributes you can have as an emerging professional in our industry to ensure longevity and flexibility.”

Goodwin earned his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Cal Poly in 2008 ahnd has taught at the university since 2014. Previously, he co-founded and served as principal architect for ConsciousBuild Inc., a design, build and development firm with its roots in sustainability and design activism. He later created RED Studio Foundation, which provided socially responsible design services for nonprofits. In 2013, it became part of the nonprofit design organization Journeyman International (JI). 

“Andrew is an inspiring role model for the next generation of architects,” CAED Dean Christine Theodoropoulos said. “He teaches students the value of design as a fusion of human caring and craft, and opens doors for them to make a meaningful difference for the communities they serve.”

As part of JI, Goodwin was the lead designer and architect for a community center in the Sunzu Yacu village in Rwanda, which has helped to educate and provide a community space for hundreds of women and children in the northern province of the country.

Separately, Goodwin has also designed a system of primary care clinics and vocational schools for the African country of Mauritania as part of an effort championed by Dr. Ahmad Nooristani, founder of the SLO Noor Foundation. Locally, Goodwin recently provided design work for the city of Guadalupe for its effort to refurbish a park and community center.

Additionally, Goodwin co-founded and served as the inaugural editor-in-chief of PUBLIC Journal, a quarterly publication dedicated to providing a larger platform for the impact design movement. 

The Skid Row Housing Trust will be honored in the spring by the American Institute of Architects, California Council. To learn more about the award, go to

For more on Goodwin, visit To learn more about Cal Poly’s Architecture Department, go to

Goodwin Portrait
Photo courtesy of Andrew Goodwin.

Contact: Ray Ladd

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