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Founders of Architecture for Humanity Step Down, Launch Five-year Plan

“It's great to see something you started evolve into an institution. We are excited about the future of the organization and plan to continue lending support in whatever ways we can.” Kate Stohr, co-founder

Architecture for Humanity founders, Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair, will step down after 15 years of leading the San Francisco based non-profit organization to focus on new ventures. Upon leaving, they have drafted a five year strategic vision, reiterating the organization's purpose and needed areas of improvement. Matt Charney, Board President of Architecture for Humanity, is confident that 'Kate and Cameron's vision and years of dedication leaves the organization in a solid place." To further expand operations, board directors will begin an international search for a new executive director by the end of September.

How Shoddily Constructed Buildings Become Weapons of Mass Destruction

Why is it that the Bay Area can suffer a 6.9 earthquake and lose just 63 people, while Haiti suffers a slightly stronger quake and loses about 100,000? The answer: shoddy construction. As Bryan Walsh of TIME points out, “We tend to focus on the size of an earthquake, but death toll has more to do with the quality of buildings. [...] Poverty — and even more, poor governance and corruption — is the multiplier of natural disasters. [...] That’s why one of the most vulnerable places in the world is south-central Asia.” Learn more about the dangers of poorly constructed buildings here and see what the "true value" of architecture is here

AIA 2013: Citizen Architect

Cameron Sinclair at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver © ArchDaily
Cameron Sinclair at the 2013 AIA National Convention in Denver © ArchDaily

“When you build a beautiful building, people love it. And the most sustainable building in the world is the one that’s loved.” - Cameron Sinclair, Co-founder of Architecture for Humanity

Cameron Sinclair is a man who sustains his passion for helping improve the world, one project at a time, by tapping into the skilled enthusiasm of like-minded architects from all over the globe. Since co-founding of his non-profit organization with Kate Stohr in 1999, Sinclair and his interdisciplinary teams of citizen architects have provided shelter for more than two million people worldwide. 

Under his leadership, Architecture for Humanity’s infectious mantra has inspired thousands to join its cause every year, allowing the organization to expand at an unbelievable rate and become the exemplar of public interest design. Considering this, it is no surprise that Sinclair was selected to be the keynote speaker on day two of the 2013 AIA National Convention. 

As his speech continued the momentum of yesterday’s inaugural presentation, in which TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie shared his success story of “doing well by doing good,” Sinclair urged architects to hold close the true value of their profession. 

Learn what Cameron Sinclair believes to be the true value of architects after the break.

A Refugee Camp Is a City / World Refugee Day 2013

June 20th. World Refugee Day.

When we think of emergency architecture, what usually comes to mind are villages razed by flooding, by a hurricane or tornado. Families who have lost everything. From catastrophe emerges a new home for a new life, a new future to rebuild from the debris. But there are many other emergencies of an equally - if not more - dramatic nature.

Political and armed conflicts displace tens of millions of people every year. In the 2012 census collected by ANCUR, it was estimated that “43.3 million people in the world were displaced by force due to conflict and persecution. Children constitute 46% of this population.” These are not people who are starting from 0 with a new home, but rather who have run to save their own lives, taking with them only what they can carry - the things that will furnish houses that aren’t houses, because their inhabitants aren’t citizens. 

But a refugee camp is also a city. 

Four NGOs Launch Housing Competition to Aid Disaster Survivors

The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Make It Right, St. Bernard Project and Architecture for Humanity has formed a strategic partnership to launch “Designing Recovery,” an ideas competition created to aid in the rebuild of sustainable and resilient communities. 

Help Rebuild Moore

Recovery efforts are underway in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore after a deadly, 1.3-mile-wide tornado carved a 20-mile-long swath of destruction through neighborhoods and schools on Monday afternoon. With winds up to 210 miles per hour and a death count that currently stands at 24, President Obama has declared this tornado to be “one of the most destructive in history,” ranking it at a Category 5. 

In an effort to help, Architecture for Humanity and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have mobilized their teams to provide instant assistance and aid in long term reconstruction efforts. Although professional design and construction volunteers from both organizations are already on the ground, the community needs your help. Find out how you can help the residents of Moore after the break.

Kickstarter Campaign Aims to Transform Denver Parking Lot into Outdoor Classroom

Architecture for Humanity-Denver is seeking to raise money for the transformation of a museum parking lot into an outdoor classroom for children in need. The goal of Denver's Museo de las Americas is to educate the community about the diversity of Latino Americano art and culture from ancient to contemporary through innovative exhibitions and programs, but the museum is lacking the necessary space for its increasingly popular youth summer camp. 

Kickstarter: New Model Library in Africa

Architecture Love Cards

With love in the air this Valentine’s Day season, there is undoubtedly no better way to express your feelings to the architecture enthusiast in your life with these one of a kind architecture love cards. Made especially to share with your loved ones and those you care about most, celebrate this year’s loveliest season with these simple, yet elegant cards featuring well-known architectural wonders throughout the world from the Eiffel Tower to the Golden Gate Bridge. Thanks to Architecture for Humanity, just by visiting here, you can easily download one, two, or several of these cards which remind you why you love architecture so much! More images of  love cards available can be viewed after the break.

SEEDoc: Maria Auxiliadora School

On August 15th, 2007 a powerful earthquake hit the region of Ica, Perú, destroying the small Maria Auxiliadora School. The first responders left after a matter of months, but the damage remained. Resources were shuffled to the big cities, and the small school waited, for years, for the authorities to take on the reconstruction. They never did.

And so, with help from Architecture for Humanity Design Fellow, Diego Collazo, and with funding from the Happy Hearts Fund and the SURA Group, the community decided to take the school’s - and their children’s - future into their own hands. This SEEDoc, the latest installment of inspirational mini-documentaries from the Design Corps and SEED (Social Economic Environmental Design), tells their story.

More after the break...

Donate to Architecture for Humanity, Get A Famous Architect's Sketch

Steven Holl 
Concept Sketch for Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Competition. 11/05/11 
Watercolor and charcoal on hot-press watercolor paper 7 x 10. Image via Architecture for Humanity
Steven Holl 
Concept Sketch for Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Competition. 11/05/11 
Watercolor and charcoal on hot-press watercolor paper 7 x 10. Image via Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity has had a busy year. From continuing efforts in Haiti and Japan to their Post-Sandy initiative to open two new offices in New York and New Jersey, they could use a little help to get to their annual goal. 

So they're auctioning off 7 sketches from famous architects - from Steven Holl to Renzo Piano to Frank Gehry.  Everyday this week (starting today!), they will announce which architect's sketch is the piece of the day on their web site. The first $5K donation before 12pm PST gets the artwork. 

Check out which other famous architects have contributed their sketches, after the break...

Daniel Libeskind 
Emerging! | New York, 3/29/12 Ink on Trace Paper 11 x 13.75. Image via Architecture for Humanity Frank Gehry 
pen on cloth napkin. 2012 14 x 14. Image via Architecture for Humanity Richard Meier 
The Getty Center / I-Research Institute ed.11/20. Spring 1998 
Tyler Graphics Print | Original lithograph print on paper 20.5 x 28. Image via Architecture for Humanity Image via Architecture for Humanity

Guerrilla Green Sustainable Showdown Competition

Hosted by Architecture for Humanity, the Guerrilla Green Sustainable Showdown is a youth empowerment challenge for all US students. Using a ‘March Madness’ bracket system, they are putting the top 8 school teams from different regions against each other, to turn a great idea into a solution that can be scaled throughout the campus. If you can come up with a way to improve your school by making any space or program in your school more eco-friendly, now is the opportunity to win cash to hack your school green. Submissions are due February 1st. For more information, please visit here.

Highlights from Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! 2012

If you missed Design Like You Give A Dam: LIVE!  - the Architecture for Humanity event of panel discussions and workshops at the Autodesk Gallery in  - you must check out this short video.

Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! November 12-13

Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity
Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

Taking place November 12-13, the 3rd annual Design Like You Give a Damn: LIVE! event will consist of innovative panel discussions, workshops and the ‘Design Open Mic’ event at the Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco. Design experts and enthusiasts, industry leaders across disciplines and more come together to address the challenges and lessons learned in humanitarian design and community development. Panel topics address cutting-edge topics and small-group workshops allow participants to gain hands-on knowledge from expert panelists. Put on by Architecture for Humanity, this will be the first year this event is coming to the west coast. For more information, including an itinerary of events, please visit their official website here.

Architecture for Humanity's 5-Point Plan for Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction

Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seaside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen
Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seaside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. © Governor’s Office / Tim Larsen

"As whenever disaster strikes, it will be many days before the full impact of the storm is brought to light, and which communities will be in largest need of design support as the broader reconstruction effort proceeds. However we are not waiting for water to recede before preparing a reconstruction campaign." - Cameron Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity co-founder

Since Hurricane Sandy struck New York and New Jersey last week, Architecture for Humanity  volunteers have been in action - not just aiding in the recovery efforts, but also analyzing how/where long-term reconstruction efforts will need to be focused. Indeed, Architecture for Humanity's co-founder, Cameron Sinclair, has already published the organization's 5-point strategy for long-term reconstruction in the areas most severely impacted by Sandy.

Architecture For Humanity's strategy for reconstruction (and more information on how you can get involved), after the break....

Ways to help affected communities after Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seaside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. © Governor's Office / Tim Larsen
Hurricane Sandy damage north of Seaside, N.J. on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. © Governor's Office / Tim Larsen

Following Hurricane Sandy’s devastating path through the Caribbean, up the Atlantic and into the East Coast of the United States, hundreds of communities are in need of immediate relief and facing the daunting challenge of rebuilding. In effort to help, Architecture for Humanity and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) are mobilizing their teams to provide instant assistance and plan for the long term reconstruction efforts. Professional design and construction volunteers from both organizations will be working together to help households, schools, heath facilities, small businesses and local government rebuild in the coming days and weeks. However, relief and reconstruction cannot happen without your support. Learn how you can help after the break.

OCO – Ocean & Coastline Observatory wins [UN] RESTRICTED ACCESS 2011

Courtesy of Manel Espada
Courtesy of Manel Espada

As previously announced, the Portuguese architects behind “OCO – Ocean & Coastline Observatory” have won Habitat for Humanity’s Open Architecture Challenge: RESTRICTED ACCESS 2011. Over 500 teams from 74 countries submitted innovative solutions for the recovery and reuse of disabled and abandoned military sites. These submissions were filtered down to 13 finalists by a jury of 33 esteemed professionals. The Lisbon-based architects of OCO claimed grand prized with their vision to redevelop a desolate military site, that once defended the coast of Trafaria in Portugal, into a civic space that promotes coastal preservation.

Continue after the break for more. 

[UN] RESTRICTED ACCESS Winners Announced!

Grand Prize: "OCO - Ocean & Coastline Observatory" - Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity
Grand Prize: "OCO - Ocean & Coastline Observatory" - Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity has announced the winners of the 2011 Open Architecture Challenge: RESTRICTED ACCESS competition. Designers were challenged to team up with community groups from across the globe and develop innovative solutions that re-envision closed, abandoned and decommissioning military sites. The response was overwhelming, as 600 international teams registered from 70 countries. A jury of 33 professional evaluated the submissions based on community impact, contextual appropriateness, ecological footprint, economic viability and design quality, and filtered the teams down to only 23 semi finalists. Now, the winners of those finalist have been revealed!

“We wanted people to look at former military installations and ask ‘How can we re-envision spaces that exist in difficult, sometimes hostile environments and transform them into something positive?’” stated Architecture for Humanity executive director Cameron Sinclair, as reported on Wired. “We want to  use the design process to weave the community back together. It might be a quilt of many different pieces, but in the end, it’s a quilt, and that’s what makes it work.”

Continue after the break to review the winning proposals!