ARCHITECTURE FOR HUMANITY
Bringing safe shelter to disaster-prone communities and displaced populations.
This story begins in the late 1990s, when the architect Cameron Sinclair and his partner, Kate Stohr, were watching the news. There, on the television, they watched the story of the Kosovo war and ensuing chaos that led to the displacement of nearly a million people. Suddenly, the lights clicked on in his mind: Cameron saw an opportunity for architects to help in the midst of this horrendous man-made storm. The two decided to run a competition. The goal was to reach out to the design community and crowd-source ideas for practical, livable structures that could be built in the affected areas.
Sinclair remembers the overwhelming response, “Almost every designer and architect I spoke with wanted to get involved in responding to humanitarian issues.” And so, Architecture for Humanity was born. It is a worldwide network of architects offering their unique creative abilities to humanitarian groups and communities in need.
Today, at the heart of Architecture for Humanity is a network of more than 40,000 people who operate everywhere, from Haiti to Rwanda, providing architectural and design solutions, pro bono, to deprived communities. From conception to completion, Architecture for Humanity manages all aspects of the design and construction process. They work with community groups, aid organizations, housing developers, governmental agencies, corporate divisions, and foundations. Architecture for Humanity is a catalyst for innovation. In 2007, they also launched the Open Architecture Network, which Sinclair describes as a “gift to the design community”. This network has a simple mission: “to generate design opportunities that will improve living standards for all”, by providing an open-source platform which anyone can view, post to, share, and adapting sustainable, humanitarian-based, achievable solutions.
To learn more about Architecture for Humanity and find out about some of the projects involved in the scheme, read the article previously published in IM Magazine (with text by journalist Fátima de Sousa and design by Ecomunicação).