Masters of Design: Maurice Cox

Mayor of Charlottesville, Virginia

When he’s not working out of City Hall, Maurice Cox is an associate professor at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture and a founding partner of RBGC Architecture, Research & Urbanism. He’s also one of the country’s foremost practitioners of democratic design: That is, he understands that design’s impact grows when the designer allies himself with many partners. In the poor black community of Bayview, hundreds of miles from Charlottesville, Cox helped lead a six-year, $10 million effort to rebuild the village. He organized town meetings and involved residents in every major planning decision, from determining which houses to bulldoze to outlining the project’s final scope and character. Today, Bayview is becoming a national model for community-led design. “Maurice gave people a voice,” says Bryan Bell, founder of Design Corps, a nonprofit architecture firm that builds affordable housing. “Bayview is a self-determined community of people who [once] lacked self-determination. The signature of this place is theirs.”

Peak Performers: Four masters who are leading the world of design
Impact Players: Four high-impact projects that shaped the year in design–and the people who launched them
  • William McDonough, Principal and founder, William McDonough + Partners
  • Tom Ford , Former Creative Director, Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent
  • Jonathan Ive, Vice President of Industrial Design, Apple Computer Inc.
  • Marcia Lausen, Founding member, AIGA Design for Democracy
Game Changers: The risk takers and agitators who are rewriting the rules
Collaborators: Champions who help make great design happen
Next Generation: Meet four rising stars who are charting the future
A Jury of Their Peers
Introducing 11 jurors–top leaders from universities, cultural institutions, and business–who helped us select our 20 Masters of Design.
Lessons From the Masters
These five ideas will help you incorporate design principles in your work — and better connect with customers and colleagues.