An informative and always interesting blog, Architects + Artisans, recently posted a piece about a group called Architecture for Humanity. Further research into this organization revealed that it is a non-profit group with over 40,000 design professionals working on a world-wide basis directly helping 10,000 people yearly with their services. Other of their outreach programs reach an additional 50,000 people annually. Their website defines their mission in part as “building a more sustainable future using the power of design.”
Founded in 1999 by architect Cameron Sinclair, the group has developed into a global network designing projects with “…volunteer architects and designers creating shelters for those who need them the most.” Current projects include several schools in Sri Lanka, a Tamil’s Women’s House in India, Navajo Elder Strawbale Housing, Navajo Nation, earthquake reconstruction in Haiti and rebuilding Bam in Iran. In Biloxi, MS. following Hurricane Katrina, volunteers built eight homes for families that had lost everything as a result of the hurricane, working directly with the families to assess their needs, introduce sustainable technology and train local builders to complete the homes.
In our office, TMS Architect, Shannon Alther has been involved with a project spearheaded by the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and joined by The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and Architecture for Humanity , this group is working on Alternative Repair Strategies for the Gaza Strip. The project scope will be presented at an upcoming Architecture for Humanity conference.
In the northeast, the Boston Chapter has been working with a non-profit group in Guatemala called Long Way Home for the past two years, designing and constructing an environmental school using alternative construction. This project, which is entitled, “A Class Apart” is one of 12 finalists in the BBC World Challenge, a global competition aimed at finding projects or small businesses from around the world that have shown enterprise and innovation at a grassroots level. The winner of which will be determined by popular vote so Visit the BBC site, learn more about this project with its Boston roots and click on the Vote Now button in support of their endeavors. The Architecture for Humanity website is comprehensive, explains their mission, how they function and how to support and volunteer for this organization.