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Why Leaders in Altruistic Architecture Need to Drop the Ego

09:30 - 20 July, 2016
Why Leaders in Altruistic Architecture Need to Drop the Ego, Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger in Haiti, designed by Architecture for Humanity. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity
Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger in Haiti, designed by Architecture for Humanity. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

This article was originally published on Lance Hosey's Huffington Post blog as "A Darker Shade of Green."

Last week, Architectural Record reported that Architecture for Humanity (AFH), the nonprofit founded in 1999 to address humanitarian crises through building, is being sued for mismanagement of funds. On June 10th, a court-appointed trustee filed a complaint alleging that the co-founders, Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr, and the ten-person board of directors acted with gross negligence by shirking their fiduciary duties from 2012 through 2014. The specific charges relate to misusing charitable donations earmarked for specific purposes. This is the latest in a string controversies, beginning with the co-founders departing in 2013 and the organization declaring bankruptcy last year.

Architecture for Humanity Founders and Board Members Face $3 Million Lawsuit

15:20 - 12 July, 2016
Architecture for Humanity Founders and Board Members Face $3 Million Lawsuit, Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity
Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

After 16 years of operation, in 2015, nonprofit organization Architecture for Humanity (AfH) disbanded and filed for bankruptcy. While it was seen as an unfortunate end for the original vision, the over 60 individual chapters were able to move on from the situation, reorganizing themselves under the blanket of Open Architecture Collaborative (OAC) earlier this year.

Design Like You Give a Damn: The Legacy of Architecture for Humanity

01:00 - 23 January, 2015
Design Like You Give a Damn: The Legacy of Architecture for Humanity, Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity
Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger. Image Courtesy of Architecture for Humanity

In the introduction to Architecture for Humanity’s 2006 book Design Like You Give a Damn, founder Cameron Sinclair recounts a story from the early days of the organization. Half-joking yet deadly serious, he describes the day when, while still running Architecture for Humanity from a single cell phone around his day job at Gensler, he was contacted by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees who told him that Architecture for Humanity was on a list of organizations that might be able to help a potential refugee crisis in Afghanistan should the US retaliate in the wake of September 11.

“I hope it’s a long list,” says Sinclair. “No,” comes the answer.

“We’d like to think it was because we had already become a voice for humanitarian design - an unexpected touchstone in the movement for socially conscious architecture,” writes Sinclair of the incident. “The sad truth is that until 1999, when our fledgling organization got started along with a handful of others, there was no easily identifiable design resource for shelter after disaster.”

Now, after their sudden and rather unceremonious demise, Architecture for Humanity has left architecture a very different world from the one it entered almost sixteen years ago.

Architecture For Humanity Closes San Francisco Headquarters

00:00 - 19 January, 2015
Architecture For Humanity Closes San Francisco Headquarters

Update: on February 26th 2015, Architecture for Humanity released a statement officially announcing their bankruptcy proceedings. View the full statement at the end of this article.

As reported by SFGate, on January 1st Architecture for Humanity laid off all staff and closed its Head Office in San Francisco. Although there has been no official statement from the organization, the news has been widely circulated, with Architecture for Humanity founders Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr issuing a statement saying that they are "deeply saddened" by the news, and urging the organization's other chapters around the world "to continue their much needed work."

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

00:00 - 6 September, 2013

“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.