DJ+DS | About
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Our Mission

At DJ+DS we use our innovations in architecture, design, and real estate development to attack the root causes of mass incarceration which we believe to be poverty, racism, lack of access to resources and the criminal justice system itself. Therefore, with our non-profit, government and community partners, we counter the societal inequities evident in the dominant architectural models of courthouses and prisons by co-creating new prototypes such as peacemaking centers, mobile villages and housing for foster age youth. Together, we harness the power of the built environment to create triple-bottom-line equity, and support the success and expansion of restorative justice, education, and workforce development programs.

Bold Idea

Our bold idea is that by transforming the spaces and places where we do justice we can help our society make the shift from a punitive justice system to a restorative justice system. We hope to see peacemaking centers in every community in this country and end the age of mass incarceration.

Our Philosophy

Restorative justice seeks to restore and repair the people and relationships impacted by crime by understanding victims’ needs and holding offenders accountable in a way that meets these needs. It brings victims and offenders together for face-to-face meetings to discuss impacts, needs, and, when appropriate, ways to repair damages. Thousands of these processes operate in the US, Canada, and Europe, with many dialogues occurring in prisons when the offender is incarcerated and the crimes have been violent. Research suggests that these encounters contribute to increased empathy, improved restitution completion, and reduced offending.

Rather than focused on punishment, this philosophical approach to justice relies on values such as respect, participation, trust, accountability, and healing. Just as the principles and values of our punitive approach to justice manifest in our current justice architectural typologies, the philosophies of a restorative model can inform the design of justice spaces in a radically different way.

At DJ+DS our work is informed by these values and beliefs. Using the philosophy of restorative justice we design physical environments in such a way that the environmental design supports the programs which occur within the space.

This concern for the design of the spaces in which restorative justice occurs is new, and important, but not all that a truly restorative community requires. It also requires that we support the development of new types of housing and resource centers to address the root causes of mass incarceration and the decades of disinvestment, trauma, and harm done to our communities of color.

Our Team

Deanna Van Buren

Deanna Van Buren

Co-Founder and Design Director

Kyle Rawlins

Kyle Rawlins

Co-Founder and Development Director

Barb Toews

Barb Toews

Evaluation Partner & Board Member

Job Openings


Senior Project Manager




DJ+DS is seeking to immediately add a full-time Senior Project Manager to lead the (1) build-out of the organization’s project management capacity, and (2) successful day-to-day execution of existing and future projects. The position will report to the Design Director and Development Director, who are also the firm’s Co-Founders.

The profile of a successful applicant begins with a strong interest and/or activism in social justice issues. The applicant should enjoy—and thrive—working in a multidisciplinary, highly collaborative environment, and achieve successful results through practiced management techniques. The position requires initiative and prompt action to accomplish objectives. The social impact nature of the work requires a critical mind to reveal insights and creativity in the application of new solutions. A positive attitude will permeate through the work, interactions with coworkers, clients, management, and sponsorship of firm policies.






  • Lead multiple projects and teams, across multiple stakeholders
  • Manage and oversee the processes of projects


Capacity Building:


  • Explore and recommend project management software and systems to help streamline DJ+DS projects and tasks
  • Create a process for managing meetings, including the preparation of agendas, note-taking, and distribution of next steps
  • Direct, lead, and mentor staff to ensure professional development




  • Develop a system to track the status of all projects and goals
  • Create and coordinate work plans, schedules and timelines across projects
  • Create and monitor project schedules


Client Management:


  • Establish regular client meetings and attend with appropriate team and consultants as required by contract scope
  • Create additional service directives and sign additional services with approval of studio leadership
  • Serve as the main point of management contact with the client and city agencies


Quality Control:


  • In accordance with company quality requirements, ensure that the project conforms to the contractual agreement the firm has made with the client
  • Review contract drawings and specifications for completeness, accuracy, and coordination
  • Ensure that the project conforms to the allocated period of time and within the budget it has been assigned


Financial Control and Risk Management:


  • Control project profitability and liability exposure
  • Establish and monitor project budgets along with project progress
  • Review project billings and update studio projections regularly
  • Monitor project receivables and assist in the collection of receivables


Business Development:


  • Assist in proposal drafts and submissions


Resource Allocation:


  • Ensure staff is effectively and efficiently utilizing time
  • Determine amount and type of staff to execute the projects




  • Accurate and detail oriented
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to work on multiple projects and maintain effective communication and quality control
  • Strong ability to plan, schedule, direct work of self and others
  • Advanced understanding and proficiency using the following software:
    • Microsoft Office
    • Google Apps
    • Basecamp/Smartsheet or similar project management software
  • Basic understanding of:
    • AutoCad and/or REVIT
    • Sketch-Up
    • Adobe Suite




  • Bachelor’s degree in architecture, construction management, engineering or related field
  • Minimum seven years industry experience (architecture, construction management, real estate development, engineering)
  • Advanced understanding of building codes, including national and state local codes




Please submit a digital resume and portfolio of selected projects applicant feels are most relevant to the work of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces following the directions below:

Subject Line: Senior Project Manager
Attachment: One multipage PDF not to exceed 3MB

The PDF should include:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume
  • Portfolio of projects in which your primary role was project manager

Please, no phone calls, emails, or recruiters. All applicants must be eligible to work in the U.S.