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3 Unique Ways You Can Volunteer as an Architect

Patrick McLoughlin and Chad Johnson are the founders of Build Abroad, a volunteer organization that offers architectural and construction services to developing nations. McLoughlin also sits on the board of Architecture for Humanity in Chicago. In this article they share 3 new ways architects can get involved through volunteering.

In the architectural industry’s current climate, pro bono work is met with a certain stigma. Many architects believe giving time free of charge has a negative impact on the profession and devalues architects everywhere. While this is true in most cases, there is one scenario in which architects should give a small portion of their time to the greater good: humanitarian volunteering. Architecture is certainly a powerful tool, and often much needed in developing areas of the world --- so the next time the words ‘pro bono’ come up, think about helping those who wouldn’t be able to afford architectural services otherwise.

5 Reasons Why Architects Should Volunteer to Build Abroad

Patrick McLoughlin is one of the two founders of Build Abroad, a volunteer organization that offers architectural and construction services to developing nations. In this article, originally published on Archi-Ninja, McLoughlin shares five reasons why architects should get involved with organizations like his own. 

Many architecture firms collaborate with non-government organisations to help in developing nations. A.gor.a Architects for example, are currently designing and building a new health clinic to provide free healthcare to Burmese refugees and migrants. Auburn University Rural Studio works with architects and students to build homes in rural communities while instigating community-action, collaboration, and sustainability.

A number of organisations also facilitate construction volunteering. Architecture for Humanity provides architecture, planning and project management services for disaster reconstruction. Architects without Borders is a global operation to provide ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need. 

Over the past decade, volunteering abroad has become an increasingly popular and important part of the architecture and construction industry. Volunteering abroad offers short to long term opportunities to experience a new culture while giving back to the community. Construction volunteering offers the potential for a lasting impact on the affected community. Patrick McLoughlin, co-counder of Build Abroad describes the following benefits and how you can help to make a difference: