The co-founders of TED Prize-winning Architecture for Humanity, Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr, are parting ways with the celebrated San Francisco-based nonprofit dedicated to “building a more sustainable future through the power of design.”
The duo, with Stohr in the role of “creative realist” (board advisor) and British-born Sinclair in the role of “chief eternal optimist” (executive director) founded Architecture for Humanity in New York City in 1999 and, in the years since, have watched it grow into a highly respected, action-oriented charitable organization with upwards of 60 local chapters spread across over a dozen countries across the globe. Currently, a network of over 6,470 design professionals are involved with the do-goodery design organization, an organization that directly impacts an estimated 100,000 people each year.
While Architecture for Humanity — motto: "Design Like You Give a Damn!"— is perhaps best known for its ongoing work in communities impacted by natural disasters — recent campaigns have been launched in Moore, Okla. and areas of Japan devastated by 2011’s earthquake/tsunami/nuclear catastrophe — the organization provides design, construction, and development services to all communities in need.
Reads a statement released by the organization in September:
Architecture for Humanity was founded as an initiative of Sinclair, an architectural designer and Stohr, a journalist and TV/web producer. Sinclair had been working on historic preservation in Western Romania as reports emerged of refugees from the war in Kosovo returning home only to find their houses in rubble. Collectively they saw an immediate opportunity for building professionals around the world to help. Sinclair and Stohr launched a competition to provide transitional shelter for returning refugees and Architecture for Humanity was born. Very quickly, the idea was transformed into a design non-profit that grew into an organization and today manages every facet of the building process, from ideation to implementation. The group pioneered the use of open source within the architecture profession and developed a results-driven, community-led design process.
Despite the departure of Sinclair and Strohr (the former will be staying on board until April 2014, the organization’s 15th anniversary, while the latter has already left to return to her former career in television journalism and web production), Architecture for Humanity will continue on doing what it does best including further developing a just-launched five-year strategic vision plan.
“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,” says Stohr, who just recently, along with Sinclair, was named the recipient of the Curry Stone Design Prize Vision Award.
And, of course, Architecture for Humanity has sprung into action following last week’s unfathomably devastating Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, one of the strongest storms ever recorded. “We are currently in touch with local architects and partners within our network, who are helping us to identify the most critical rebuilding needs — both in the short and long term. As we identify these needs, we will work with communities to build back better. Early support will allow us to begin working with communities immediately and empower local architects to drive recovery locally,” explains Eric Cesal, director of the organization’s Reconstruction and Resiliency Studio.
Click here to lend your support as Architecture for Humanity once again mobilizes.
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