School of Architecture College of Design

Freedom by Design


Freedom by Design by Amal Moussa

As a first year transfer student, I was overwhelmed by the size of the University and even the College of Design. After hearing an announcement about Freedom by Design in one of my first classes, I decided to join one of their builds to see what it was all about.

From day one, I was completely thrilled by the program.  Freedom by Design is a volunteer student group focused on using design to make meaningful changes in the lives of disabled or low-income people around the Twin Cities. When I first showed up to the build, everyone was so friendly and focused on having a good time while getting the job done. Being a freshman who admittedly had never built anything before (I knew nothing about using tools) I learned so much through my experience with the program and am now confident using tools.


What I enjoy the most about this program, besides the fact that it gives me a great opportunity to design something then figure out how to build it, is being able to work on something that will have a big impact with a group of other volunteers who share the same passion. At the end of each project we get to experience the appreciation of the clients. And after working hard and taking the time to make their lifestyle more comfortable, being able to see how happy the change we implement has made them, is inspiring.


This year we are focusing on helping children with neurobiological diseases, specifically Autism. We are currently designing and building five canvases (images below) that will be sent to five different schools, allowing children with different abilities to learn about the disorder then paint the canvases. Afterwards, these canvases will fit back together to be a representation of Autism; a complex whole whose parts we don’t completely understand.

Next week, we will begin our next project designing a musical playground for Karner Blue, a school focused on healing through nature, art and music. This playground will consist of eight musical instruments that will serve as an outlet for anxiety and self-expression. Even though I personally have little experience with building musical instruments, I am excited to begin our design process and embark on a great learning experience, experimenting with all the possible tools, resources, and materials we can get our hands on!


School of Architecture
145 Rapson Hall
89 Church Street
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Fax: 612-624-5743


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107 Rapson Hall, 89 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455
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