Jon Racek is a multidisciplinary designer whose scope of expertise spans architectural, landscape and industrial design. His research is concerned with the design and creation of systems of production where the design emerges from the system. This research is articulated through the high-tech – parametric modeling, digital fabrication, VR/AR – and the low-tech – co-design in a developing world context.
He founded the organization Play360 (www.play360.org) in 2008, a nonprofit that trains NGOs to build low-cost educational resources throughout the developing world. He has performed over 40 trainings in 17 countries including Ethiopia, where he designed the first universal design playground in that country. To date, Play360 has built over 130 playgrounds.
In 2001, he received a design award from the American Institute of Architecture, Los Angeles Chapter. In 2012, he was named one of “40 Under 40” in the AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) Industry, as determined by Building Design and Construction Magazine. In 2016, he was awarded the Sanctae Crucis Award by his alma mater, the highest non-degree accolade that is bestowed on alumni who have distinguished themselves in the service of justice. He is a LEED Accredited Professional.
Before joining the IU Bloomington faculty, Racek ran an architectural and furniture designer studio for 10 year in Los Angeles. His work has been featured in publications such as The New York Times and Time magazine.
Areas of Expertise
Design thinking, 3D printing, co-design, participatory design, placemaking, local innovation ecosystems, inclusive innovation, design in the developing world, social impact design, co-design, playground design, virtual reality, augmented reality.
“Custom made: IU lecturer uses his design skills to build 3-D arm for local girl”: https://news.iu.edu/stories/2017/04/iub/28-custom-made-3-d-arm.html
IU in Rwanda: https://news.iu.edu/stories/features/rwanda/index.html
Through the Gates podcast: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/through-the-gates-at-iu/e/57687966
CIBER Focus: Play 360: “Adding Creativity & Fun to Local Capacity-building” with Jon Racek: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxQ0UMJqnMU
UITS Tech Bytes, Ep. 14: Oculus VR at IU: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbN04UUiauo