Alan Ricks (05') is the chief operating officer of MASS Design Group, which he co-founded with Michael Murphy in 2010. Alan’s work with MASS spans design, research, and policy, and he most recently gave a TED Talk, which chief TED curator Chris Anderson described as “a different language about what architecture can aspire to be.” Since designing and building the Butaro District Hospital for Partners In Health, MASS has expanded to seven countries, focusing on design innovation and health infrastructure development. Alan is a graduate of Colorado College and the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.
Alan is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and an Expert-in-Residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab. Often the only architect at the table, he has worked with the government of Liberia to develop healthcare policy and addressed the Global Infrastructure Initiative sponsored by McKinsey and the Albright Stonebridge Group. Under his and Michael’s leadership, MASS has been the subject of a Harvard Graduate School of Design Case Study, and has been named finalists for the TED Prize, The Aga Khan Award for Architecture, and Buckminster Fuller Challenge. MASS has also received the World Architecture News Buro Happold Award, Architecture League Emerging Voices Award, Healthcare Design Changemaker Award, the Curry Stone Design Prize, and Contract Magazine ‘Designer of the Year’, among others.
Alan also works to expand dialogue around the role of design in advancing a more equitable world, including regular and guest lectures at the Harvard School of Public Health, Colorado College, the University of Pretoria, and the Harvard Leadership Conference, among others. Alan and Michael have published in the Lancet, the Huffington Post, the Journal of Architecture, and the Stanford Social Innovation Review. MASS’s first book, Empowering Architecture, was published in 2012 as a reflection on the Butaro Hospital design process. Select features on MASS include Wired Magazine, the New York Times, Fast Company, and the Boston Globe, and in architecture publications including Mark, Domus, and Lotus.
During his residency, Alan gave a public lecture about dignity in design, hosted a workshop in Advanced Sculpture, taught by visiting professor Jody Joyner, conducted a workshop with students about the naming of campus buildings, and collaborated with Press at CC artist Crane Sarris to create a poster for his public lecture.