DOTTE AGENCY is a multi-disciplinary design collaborative engaging neighborhoods to shape the built environment in order to improve public health. Our group:
gives agency to citizens through our creative processes,
makes connections in the community – conceptual and organizational,
makes problems tangible,
promotes design as a useful and important component in community problem-solving.
Dotte Agency wouldn't be able to do its work without our partnering organizations, who have each generously provided their time and/or resources to help make this collaboration possible.
- Community Housing of Wyandotte County
- Community Health Council of Wyandotte County
- Central Avenue Betterment Association
- The Health Forward Foundation
- The Menorah Heritage Foundation
- The Wyandotte Health Foundation
- Healthy Communities Wyandotte
- Latino Health for All Coalition
- NBC Community Development Corporation
- KU Work Group for Community Health and Development
- KU Center for Service Learning
- KU Hall Center for the Humanities
- KU Endowment Association
- KU Center for Research
- KU School of Architecture and Design
and numerous other dedicated individuals and organizations.
SHANNON CRISS is a licensed architect and an Associate Professor in the Architecture Department at the University of Kansas. Through her work at KU she is able to bring focus to community engagement processes and service learning opportunities to create an architecture that serves the greater good. The endeavor requires that we think beyond the singular architectural object and develop deep, long-term, loose-fitting principles to guide the work we do as architects; developing strategies that make the architectural object the right fit, for many people, for a long time. In order to be effective, this premise requires collaborative thought and work, where students identify and examine ideas driven by their empathy for others’ needs and their own natural curiosity to explore and offer new insight to a given problem, with the premise that good design is enduring design. Through externally funded research projects that incorporate design courses, she is able to engage urban communities of need in Wyandotte County. Shannon believes that by meeting people where they are, “these real-world experiences enhance the student perspective on what can be achieved when working with community insight as a guide to plausible, well-designed solutions.” Shannon is a strong advocate to help students see their role as agents to connecting communities with design that promote environmental sustainability, social equity and community resilience.
Her work has been published in PUBLIC: A Journal of Imagining America and in Good Deeds, Good Design, Community Service Through Architecture published by Princeton Architectural Press. She is a graduate of Kansas State University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has taught at the Boston Architectural Center, The Harvard Graduate School of Design, Mississippi State University and the University of Kansas.
NILS GORE is a licensed architect and a Professor in the Architecture Department at the University of Kansas, where he focuses on community engaged scholarship through completion of student design/build projects in the public realm. These projects include work in Mississippi, Lawrence, New Orleans and, most lately, Wyandotte County, Kansas. In all of these projects, he works with students to develop innovative material and tectonic design solutions that enhance and support an enriched community life for those that dwell in the community. The work in Wyandotte is focused on projects that promote public health through healthy eating and active living and is supported by external funding from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and the Wyandotte Health Foundation.
The work has won design awards from the American Institute of Architects, The Young Architects Forum, American Institute of Architecture Students, and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The work has also been published in The Journal of Architectural Education, Batture: Amnesiascope, Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, the Journal of Architectural and Planning Research and has been presented in numerous public lectures and scholarly presentations. He is a graduate of Kansas State University and the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and has taught at the Boston Architectural Center, Mississippi State University and the University of Kansas.
Click here for a video produced by KU about Nils’s approach to hands-on education.
MATT KLEINMANN is currently a doctoral student in architecture with a focus on public health at the University of Kansas. With a background in urban design and videography, Matt's work is focused on using community-based participatory research to help neighborhoods tell stories that promote greater access to healthy food and active living. Matt leverages narrative design as a democratic tool that can help shape public policy in order to reduce health disparities in the built environment through community engagement and participatory design. He believes that people should have the basic human right of living in a healthy neighborhood, and that architectural designers can use their skills to promote greater health access for all.
Previous to his doctoral studies, Matt was an adjunct professor in architecture and urban design at KU. From 2011 - 2014, Matt worked for Helix Architecture + Design in Kansas City on adaptive reuse and campus master planning projects. In 2014, he served as the inaugural Community Engagement Research Fellow at the architecture firm of Eskew+Dumez+Ripple in New Orleans, Louisiana. He also currently serves as a board member for the non-profit Historic Green, which works to sustainably restore homes in Kansas City and the Lower 9th Ward. He is an architecture graduate of the KU School of Architecture, Design and Planning as well as an urban design graduate from Sam Fox School of Design at Washington University in St. Louis.