Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. We are building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design.
Jul 15, 2013

Sandy Reconstruction, July 2013: fairs & workshops

Summer is here - meaning it's peak tourist season along the shore in places like Seaside Heights. Our New York Regional Office is now up and running full steam ahead, managing projects, building partnerships, and preparing architects for the next disaster.


Restore the Shore, Seaside Heights

In the months after Hurricane Sandy did its best to destroy many coastal and inland communities of New Jersey and the Northeast Region of the United States, many feared that it might be a long time before this vacation destination returned to normal.

From the moment the hurricane dissipated, local, state, and federal officials worked feverishly to get as much debris cleared and the necessary infrastructure restored and recover a sense of normalcy.

In the case of Seaside Heights, New Jersey, "normal" means countless numbers of beach goers and boardwalkers - everyone from families to retirees to teenagers and twenty-somethings working on their tans, running into the still chilly Atlantic, and lighting up the arcade and boardwalk games from Porter Avenue North to Hiering Avenue. The smells and aromas of pizza, grilled sausage and peppers, and funnel cake permeate the air - as do the shouts and calls of the barkers at the Boardwalk arcade parlors.

The work by the myriad government officials, business owners, residents, construction crews, and volunteers to get to this point cannot be overstated.

With the rebuilding of the boardwalk that extends along the shore of Seaside Heights, we are now in the full swing of things. Our collective attention begins to focus on the work of rebuilding the Hiering Street Performance Pavilion and developing a new gateway to Seaside Heights at the base of the Route 37 Bridge.

Recent meetings between Architecture for Humanity, MTV, and the officials of Seaside Heights have made continued progress on clarifying the scope and direction of these reconstruction projects. The teams are now poised to begin assembling the more public aspects of the project, including planning and announcing design charrettes, public meetings, and further introducing the project teams to the community and project funders.

Please continue to check our Restore the Shore page on the Open Architecture Network weekly for continuing updates on these and the many other disaster assistance projects currently underway.


Renew York Schools

On June 10th, Architecture for Humanity in collaboration with the principal and staff of PS 329-Surfside, hosted a community design charrette on campus to generate active learning spaces with a pinnacle expression of sport.

Over 50 people associated with the school braved a wet an windy evening to participate: an equal number of current students, parents, faculty, and neighborhood community members filled the school's dining hall for an evening of community building. We were also joined by representatives of our primary funder Nike Inc., The Fund for Public Schools, Andrew Franz Architects (pro bono architect), and Turner & Townsend Ferzan Robbins (pro bono cost estimator). Read more about this event here.

NY Chapter Training

On Saturday, June 15th, our New York Chapter held an American Institute of Architects' California Emergency Management Association Training on the Post-Disaster Safety Assessment Program. Intended for licensed architects, this course certifies attendees as Building Evaluators in the California Safety Assessment Program (SAP).

Lead by Rachel Minnery, Regional Program Manager for Architecture for Humanity New York Regional Office, this workshop taught participants to conduct rapid damage assessments of structures affected by earthquakes, wind and water. It also taught the appropriate protocol for coordinating with emergency managers to limit professional liability. Participants learned the knowledge and skills to safely assess structures for habitability and will receive a Building Evaluator Certificate from the state of California.


Jul 10, 2013

Haiti, June 2013: New projects & progress

Grand-Ravine Haitifeatures |updatesmilestones |calendar |other news |



Concern Worldwide, with the support of the European Union, has partnered with Architecture for Humanity Haiti on a very ambitious neighborhood upgrading project. Architecture for Humanity will engage the community of Grand-Ravine in a participatory planning process to implement development strategies, reconstruction and urban planning in this challenging community.  The residents of this self-governed slum are vulnerable to inclement weather, high crime rates and lack of proper infrastructure. Haiti has entered its rainy season which makes life in Grand-Ravine very difficult. Constant flooding of the ravine [which in normal time serves as the main thoroughfare connecting the various neighborhoods] limits accessibility of the residents.  For the next 10 months, our team will be meeting with the community leaders to devise and implement a plan that will help reinforce the fabric of the community and help the residents voice and prioritize their collective needs.  



Rendering of CIM Sanitary Block

Sustainable Sanitary Blocks at College CIM-An Ecological Choice
The final design for the new Toilet block was presented to the school Director and Teachers in June.  The new building will include 16 toilet stalls, and integrate an independent and sustainable sanitation system.

Contracts are signed    with the school director and the construction firm Design Action

College Mixte Le bon Berger Montrouis phase 2

On June 5th, the school principal, Mr. D'Or signed the contract for the construction works with Mr. Duverna  from the construction firm Design Action. The second phase will be completed by August 31, 2013 just in time to welcome the students on September 2nd 2013. Design Action started demolition work on June 3rd, 2013. The firm who successfully built the first phase building was selected after a competitive bid process.

Christian Beaulieu conducting market surveys on Ile a Vache

Participatory Community Development on Ile a Vache 

In collaboration with the Community, Architecture for Humanity has identified key development sectors such as education, community cohesion and health, in which we will focus our efforts towards implementing quick win projects.  These projects are taking the form of sustainable sanitation systems, clean water strategies and improved access.    


June 4, 2013

We welcomed Architecture Students from FAARM/Bowling Green State University. They made a stop at our office to learn a bit from our Senior Architect Fleur Messer about rebuilding in the Haitian context. The students spent 3 weeks in Haiti visiting different sites and projects.

June 14, 2013

PechaKucha was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public. The Haiti office held its first Pechakucha on Friday June 14th, 2013 at our regular open office meeting. Five members of our staff took part in showcasing their slides according to the rules of the game: 20 pictures /20 seconds per slide. 

Brett Ferguson, our Architect on Ecole Republique d’Argentine  presented on Vancouver. Sven Kalim, Architect on the CIM School, showcased his pictures from China and Christian Beaulieu, Architect and urban planner working on Ile a Vache, explored his new passion for agriculture. Rickie Siegel and Nazanin Merehgan, Urban Planners presented on innovative slum upgrading and redevelopment examples from Latin America: Medellín, Sao Paolo, Rio de Janeiro, and Caracas. This first event was well received by the audience of architects and friends and we plan to continue this initiative. We will send out a call for entry at our next event. 

June 20-22, 2013

Architecture for Humanity Co-founder Cameron Sinclair was one of the keynote speakers at the national American Institute for Architects (AIA) convention held in Denver Colorado. He spoke long about our projects in Haiti in front of 16,000 architects. Eric Cesal featured Haiti on a panel called “Architecture for Humanity and Public Architecture: Leaders in the Social Impact Design Movement" at the AIA Convention.

July 3, 2013

Architecture for Humanity, Catholic Relief Services and Concern will participate in the Kick-off Partner’s meeting for the Community Development of Grand-Ravine

July 12, 2013

Architecture for Humanity Haiti monthly Meet and Greet. We welcome Adriana Navaro Sertich from UNOPS 16/6 projects. Adriana will explore the concept of FAVELA CHIC--a comparative analysis on current slum upgrading strategies


  • The Haiti Rebuilding center bids farewell to Brett Ferguson and Stephane Charles. We wish them well in their future endeavors.  We welcome Raphael Sabbat to the IT department.
  •  The planning team was invited by the Kellogg foundation to present at the CIAT (Comité Interministériel d’Aménagement du Territoire) on the community participatory process in Ile a Vache. It was a great platform to learn about the different projects funded by the Foundation in Haiti. 


Project - Phase - %Complete  

College C.I.M CA 30%
Clinique Mme JOA
CA 100%
College Mixte Le Bon Berger(Phase 2) CA 5%
Ecole Elie Dubois (Phase 2)
CDs 100%
Ile a Vache Community Development Diagnostic 60%
Grand-Ravine, Martissant Contract Signed Mod Ayiti Workshop CA 20%
Ecole Nationale Republique d'Argentine
CA 33%
Ecole Bon Berger, Pele
B+N 50%
Children's Academy
CA 100%

May 29, 2013

Tohoku Reconstruction Update: May 2013

Tohoku Newsletter Banner May 2013


May began with Golden Week, a collection of four national holidays spanning over a week.  This long holiday is one of the busiest holiday seasons with many taking the opportunity to travel around Japan and abroad.  With the passing of this long holiday, people are now back to their normal routines.


Recently we heard news of the first confirmed piece of debris from the Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami arriving to the state of California.  More than 25 months after the event, the event remains present as 221,000 tons of debris is predicted to reach the west coast by this Fall.


At MakiBiz, a number of events have been held in the past month, along with our regular business consultations.  The Park for All project is moving forward, MakiBiz staff have participated and given a number of seminars and events, and we have launched a Request for Proposal to support small businesses.  See below for news, project updates, and opportunities! As we approach summer, temperatures are warming and becoming more comfortable.  


We hope you enjoy this warming weather!


Architecture for Humanity



MakiBiz RFPMakiBiz Request for Proposal
MakiBiz has issued a Request for Proposal.  This program will support the rebuilding of small businesses and entrepreneurs who were affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake.  If you are, or know of anyone in need of a construction grant to rebuild their business in Tohoku, please encourage them to apply.  Details (Japanese) can be found on the MakiBiz facebook page and on this flyer.
On the weekend of April 6-7, MakiBiz staff participated in a symposium on rebuilding titled, "Miyagi Rebuilding Voice Earthquake Disaster Rebuilding Symposium 2013: Thinking Support and Collaboration from Local Rebuilding - The voice of Kitakami, Ishinomaki."  14 organizations and individuals (including Architecture for Humanity) participated by presenting their rebuilding activities, which was followed by a round table discussion raising issues and concerns on rebuilding.  This event provided a platform for people to exchange honest opinions and thoughts around the subject.
Park for All
KYSIN-no-kai released a vision package for Park for All in the recovering village of Kamaishi.  With a different site due to issues with the previous location, the Park for All will now accompany a cluster of temporary houses and a large temporary school in a valley away from the sea.  Check out the new sketches here.


Housing Seminar at MakiBiz
People who lost their homes will be required to move out of their government subsidized temporary housing units and into permanent housing in the near future.  Addressing concerns and considerations people will when looking at housing options, a series of five seminars were held over the past month and a half.  Lead by our design fellow, Akinobu, these seminars were held free and open to the public at our MakiBiz office.  Look forward to a more detailed report to come!



In Progress

Park for All - SD


Shizugawa Fishermen's Workspace "Banya" /  - Completed Feb/2013
Maeami-hama Community House /  - Completed Feb/2013
Kitakami "We Are One" Market and Youth Center /  - Completed Dec/2012
Akahama Covered Alley / - Completed Jul/2012
Oshika House - Women's Collaborative / - Completed Jul/2012
Paper Crane Sculpture /  - Completed Jan/2012
Shizugawa Judo Juku /  - Completed Dec/2011
Ohya Green Sports Park /  - Completed Dec/2011
Hikado Marketplace /  - Completed Jul/2011

CA Construction Administration / ; CD Construction Documents / ; DD Design Development / ; SD Schematic Design / ; PD Pre-Design /  - About the Phases

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