Founder / Executive Director
Emily Pilloton-Lam is a designer, builder, educator, and founder of the nonprofit Girls Garage (formerly known as Project H Design). Using architecture and design as a vehicle to transform communities and classroom pedagogy, she works alongside youth ages 9-18 to co-design and build public architecture projects. She has built a farmers market with high school students, a playhouse with girls whose mothers have experienced domestic violence, a school library designed by its own middle school students, and microhomes for a homeless housing agency. Her work seeks to change the authorship of our built environment and cultivate power in underestimated communities, specifically young girls, undocumented youth, and communities of color. With an educational philosophy rooted in creativity, design thinking, and project-based learning, Emily also works with educators and schools to reinvent teaching and learning in more hands-on and community-focused ways. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of California Berkeley, and a Master of Fine Arts in Architecture, Interior Architecture, and Designed Objects from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is currently a Lecturer in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California Berkeley, and is the author of three books, Design Revolution: 100 Products that Empower People, Tell Them I Built This: Transforming Schools, Communities, and Lives With Design-Based Education, Girls Garage: Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build The World You Want To See. Her work is documented in the full-length film If You Build It, and has been featured on the TED Stage, The New York Times, The Colbert Report and presented to the Obama Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy at The White House.