Posts tagged with "Architecture for Humanity":

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After 15 years, Architecture for Humanity abruptly closes

Late in the day on Friday, December 16, Cameron Sinclair, the co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, sent a letter that stunned the world of public interest architecture. According to Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity is closing its doors. John King of the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed that the San Francisco–based staff had been laid off at the beginning of the month. The organization, which Sinclair founded with Kate Stohr, responded to natural disasters around the world with innovative pro-bono architecture in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the United States. At its peak, Architecture for Humanity had 60 chapters and won a National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum. Sinclair and Stohr are no longer with the organization. Calls to Architecture for Humanity did not go through. Sinclair's letter in full:
We just heard the news that Architecture for Humanity, the organization we started more than 15 years ago, has pivoted its mission and is planning to close. We are deeply saddened by this. Our hearts are with the staff and chapter members who worked so hard to build a wonderful organization that did so much for communities around the world. We made so many wonderful friends and will continue personally to support your work. We ran the organization and grew it from just a small circle of volunteers to an international organization with chapters in 25 countries. For more than 10 years, together we led the movement to bring social design where it is needed most. We built award-winning buildings, ran innovative programs, personally raised more than $5 million in annual funding, year in and year out, and established more than five community design centers that set the standard for rebuilding after disaster. We hope the profession will continue to design like a give damn--in whatever form that takes... And we urge the chapters to continue their much needed work. Thank you, Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr Co-founders, Architecture for Humanity
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Brad Pitt’s Make It Right Foundation to build sustainable homes for Native Americans

Brad Pitt's home-building operation, Make It Right, was initially established in 2007 to rebuild homes in New Orleans' Lower Ninth Ward after Hurricane Katrina. The non-profit has built dozens of starchitect-designed houses in New Orleans and a subsequent expansion to Kansas City, near where the actor grew up. Now the organization has taken up its latest charitable challenge: the construction of several sustainable housing developments in Fort Peck, Montana for a Native American tribe there. Fort Peck, Montana is home to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation, which in turn is the homeland of the Assiniboine and Sioux Native American tribes. The grounds are the ninth-largest Indian reservation in the country, but records indicate there are over 300 people without homes. To solve this problem, Make It Right is teaming up with the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes and the architects and designers from Architecture for Humanity and Sustainable Native Communities Collaborative to build 20 houses at the site. The project's chief architects first surveyed the lands and deliberated what kind of structures would be ideal before going to the tribes themselves to ask what sort of houses they preferred. The houses are designed with the customs and traditions of both tribes in mind, such as the directions the doorways face or the significance of certain colors. Construction is slated to begin by the end of the year. All of the homes are expected to be LEED platinum certified when complete incorporating numerous sustainable building practices. You can donate to the project here.
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Architecture For Humanity Begins Recovery Work On East Coast

As the northeast is slowly getting back on its feet, non-profit Architecture for Humanity is already commencing its plans for rebuilding and recovery. While it's still early, the organization, which is partnering with AIA chapters in the hardest hit regions, is starting first with impact assessment. Generally working in hard hit areas around the world, this is the first time their New York chapter has had to respond locally, pointed out  Jennifer Dunn, New York Chapter Leader. AFH is not only looking to re-build, but to re-build better. “We don't just want to help build back the coastline but create more resilient communities that can withstand future disasters,” said co-founder Cameron Sinclair in a statement. Architecture for Humanity is looking for support in the form of donations or volunteers. Donations can be made online here, while volunteers should email  volunteer@architectureforhumanity.org. Flood repair strategies are posted here.  Further updates will appear on the Architecture for Humanity website as soon as they are available.
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Proposal Transforms Park Space Under the Manhattan Bridge

Let’s face it, outside of Central Park, Manhattan isn't known for its abundance of open space. This is beginning to change, however, as in this increasingly innovative architectural age, people are looking to odd, underutilized remnants in the city, from abandoned rail lines to decrepit industrial buildings and toxic waterfronts to create the next amazing public space. One such space sits just beneath the Manhattan Bridge, where Architecture for Humanity has secured a grant and invited nine design firms to take on Coleman Oval Skate Park. Holm Architecture Office (HAO) with Niklas Thormark has taken on the challenge and revealed their program-driven proposal. HAO looked to the surrounding Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods for inspiration and the site conditions informed their comprehensive program strategy. Currently shrouded by the massive legs of the Manhattan Bridge, the design seeks to address the park’s lack of exposure by providing opportunities for local artists to create murals, signage, and other installations, giving the park local identity. Other program intentions include adding bike paths (above), an elevated dog-run with views to the East River, the opportunity for a pop-up movie theater under the bridge (bel0w), and a space for potential street festivals and markets.               At the heart of HAO’s proposal is the skate park. The design combines successful elements of other skate parks in New York City but maintains its originality and affords the opportunity for iconic status by using the existing bridge structures as walls for a "super-pipe." It's hoped this new layout developed with skate consultants Shan Reddy and Jack Dakin will not only challenge skaters, but also perform as the stage for a complex design strategy, befitting of the entire local community. Check out the rest of the proposal:
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Competing Visions for Chicago, Big and Small

Two new competitions of note explore possible futures for Chicago's public realm. The 2011 Burnham Prize ideas competition sponsored by AIA Chicago and the Chicago Architectural Club calls for new visions for the McCormick Place East building, the 1971 modernist covention center on the lakefront designed by Gene Summers of C.F. Murphy Associates. The massive, Miesian building has a powerful presence on the lakefront, and a vast column-free interior, but parks advocates have long contended it should be removed. Meanwhile, the building's owner, the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, says it needs $150 million in repairs and is functionally obsolete. The competition aims to inspire new dialogue around the future of the building and site. The Street Furniture 2011 competition sponsored by Architecture for Humanity's Chicago chapter aims for something more universal, new street furniture that could be deployed to activate almost any vacant site. With a $1000 budget in mind, the competition calls for a piece or pieces of street furniture that could activate an open lot for a year in anticipation of future development as a garden. The furniture could then also be moved to a new site. The winning design will be built and installed at an unnamed location.
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Flowers and Recycled Planters Transform a Step Street in the Bronx

A formal dedication for a creative urban intervention called ARTfarm brings flowers and greenery to a formerly barren step street in the Bronx.  Architects Valeria Bianco, Christian Gonsalves, Shagun Singh, and Justin Taylor designed and built the project  with help from Architecture for Humanity and the Bronx Museum of the Arts. Drawing inspiration from a nearby farmers' market, ARTfarm recycles wooden cabinet doors and crates into 59 planters for a variety of plants and transforms a concrete and stone stairway into a lush tiered garden. ARTfarm received $5,000 in funding from the New York Department of Transportation Art Program, pARTners.  The program seeks to transform New York's public realm through art and design to create a safer, more inviting streetscape. “From concrete step streets to chain link fences on ordinary street corners, we’re bringing art to streetscapes citywide to redefine these in-between spaces,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan in a release. “With the help of our local partners, New Yorkers are rediscovering slices of neighborhoods near and far through colorful artwork that makes these places more attractive, welcoming destinations for everyone.” ARTfarm was built by local school children, community residents, and Architecture for Humanity volunteers and will be in place for eleven months.  The installation is located on Step Street at 165th Street and Carroll Place in the Bronx.
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Pecha Kucha Haiti

There's never been a Pecha Kucha in Port-au-Prince before. But on February 20, some 280 cities across the globe that have hosted the 20-seconds-per-20-slides architecture presentation cum party will join together to try and raise $1 million for Architecture for Humanity's relief efforts in Haiti. As the Pecha Kucha people put it on their site, it only took a matter of seconds for hundreds of thousands of lives to be forever changed. Hopefully, 200,000 design-savy, humanitarian-minded types will get together for a few more seconds in a week-and-a-half and start to put things back in order. There are nearly a dozen planned all across California, including an appearance by Cameron Sinclair in San Francisco, and about as many are planned for the Midwest, including a nice line up in Detroit. If we may brag for a moment, New York has it best as usual, not only with the proceedings taking place at 7 WTC, but including an all star panel of presenters, including Florian Idenburg, Gregg Pasquarelli, Craig Dykers, and our new bestie Iwan Baan. For 20 bucks, you bet we'll be there. And hopefully you'll be there, too.
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A School for the Future

Architecture for Humanity just announced the winner for the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom. The global competition involved 1,000 registered design teams from 65 different countries. The challenge for the architecture, design, and engineering community was simple--partner with actual students and their schools to create real solutions for a classroom of the future. The winner, Teton Valley Community School in Victor, Idaho, was designed by local firm Section Eight. The concept is centered around the idea of place-based education in the school, a mode of learning that gives more importance to cultural and environmental sustainability than technology and consumerism. The design is set on an existing two-acre site. An open-flex learning space includes collapsible and foldable partitions, allowing the reconfiguration of the area as needed. Section Eight collaborated with students, parents, teachers, and members of the community to create an environment which also teaches its students. Apertures, which let in light, also allow students to see the thickness of the strawbale walls. The mechanical systems for the geothermal heating and cooling system are visible through large viewing windows.--Christina Chan Other notable entries include:Founders’ Award: The Corporación Educativa y Social Waldorf, Bogota, Colombia
. Designed by Arquitectura Justa, Bogota, Colombia
. Best Urban Classroom Upgrade Design: Rumi School of Excellence, Hyderabad, India. 
Designed by IDEO, San Francisco, CA. Best Rural Classroom Design: Building Tomorrow Academy, Wakiso and Kiboga, Uganda.
Designed by Gifford LLP, London, UK
. Best Re-locatable Classroom Design: Druid Hills High School, Georgia. 
Designed by Perkins + Will.