Formm was founded by Benjamin Hall and Brittany Layton in Springfield, Missouri in 2014, with the goal of educating underprivileged communities around the world through innovative design and construction. We embarked on our first project in Burkina Faso with a commitment to fostering global understanding and encouraging learning in our partner community. We feel that we achieved our goal, however, our experiences in Burkina Faso were, unfortunately, not all positive. While on the ground in Ouagadougou, four members of the Formm team, whom were accompanied by eight team members from buildOn, were trapped inside the terrorist attack on the Cappuccino Cafe.
Through this senseless act of violence, two lives were lost from the buildOn team, along with twenty-eight others. We understand that the harm inflicted on us and our team members was designed to set fear into our hearts and minds. However, we stand today, providing evidence to that fact that this malicious force has failed in its endeavor.
Violence cannot erase the kindness shown to us by the villagers of Mor-pouugo. At their hands, we experienced more acceptance and unabashed excitement at the possibility of sending their children, regardless of gender, to learn and grow in the school they helped to build, than we had ever believed possible. This is the very reason why we at Formm believe that now, more than ever, that we must meet anger and fear with education, acceptance and cultural understanding, in order to foster the creation of a more peaceful world.
Through architecture and design, we possess a powerful tool capable of transforming lives. Real systemic and social change is more successfully achieved in the trenches. Through engaging the partnering communities and treating them as dignified stakeholders as opposed to recipients of a donation, we are able to both teach them and learn from them. The result is a stronger project and a greater impact.
Our goal has always been, and will always be, to design the best project possible. We measure our success in terms of cost, sustainability, replicability, resiliency, and most importantly, community impact. We abide by the seven core principles of humanitarian design: Do no harm, think big but build small, be humbly ambitious, design for dignity, design for ownership, measure impact not use, design with, not just for.
We pride ourselves in having a team that is passionate about empowering and educating communities. While architecture is our focus, we have a team that is capable of assisting with all phases of marketing, as well. We are attentive to our clients’ needs, and are experienced listeners who can transform your thoughts and ideas into a tangible vision.