Amidst the hoopla surrounding innovative new skyscrapers, it's easy to forget the real heroes of architecture. Their designs will not be included on lists of the World's Tallest Buildings, and their names may be quickly forgotten. Instead, these mostly unknown designers are quietly creating shelter for the people who need it the most: survivors of earthquakes and tornadoes, under-housed people in impoverished regions, victims of war.
The nonprofit organization Architecture for Humanity was founded in 1999 by Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair. They believe that architects are trained problem-solvers, and that the citizen architect can solve humanitarian problems through their building and design. Through the Open Architecture Network, volunteer architects and designers work with community groups and relief organizations to build sustainable, well-designed structures. Worldchanging merged with the Open Architecture Network in 2011, creating a broader, richer community of experts. Here are just a few of their projects.
Architecture for Humanity Projects
- Rebuilding After the Earthquake in Bam, Iraq
- Designing Mobile HIV/AIDS Clinics in Africa
- Creating Transitional Housing in War-Torn Kosovo
- Tsunami Reconstruction
Architecture for Humanity Books
"Design Like You Give A Damn: Architectural Responses To Humanitarian Crises" by Architecture for Humanity, eds. Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair, 2006
"Design Like You Give A Damn : Building Change from the Ground Up" by Kate Stohr and Cameron Sinclair, 2012
"Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century" by Alex Steffen. Introduction by Bill McKibben. Foreward by Van Jones. Revised and Updated Edition, 2011