Emily Pilloton-Lam

2022 AIGA SF Fellow

Emily Pilloton-Lam is a designer, builder, educator, and Founder/Executive Director of the nonprofit Girls Garage. For the past 15 years, Emily has taught and worked alongside youth ages 9-18 to co-design and build public architecture projects. With students in her Studio H high school program and Girls Garage after-school and summer programs, she has built a farmers market pavilion, tiny homes for the unhoused, a school library, a public bus stop, urban farm structures, and more. She believes that by giving young girls and gender-expansive youth the physical and personal tools needed to build the world they want to see, we can change the authorship of our built environments and upend power structures within our communities.

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 has held academic positions as a Lecturer in the College of Environmental Design at the University of California Berkeley and a Visiting Professor at UC Davis, 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, and Girls Garage: How To Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build The World You Want To See. She has presented her work on the TED Stage and to the Obama Administration’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, and has been featured on The Today Show, The Colbert Report, Forbes, and CNN. She lives with her family, human and canine, in Oakland, California.