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.
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

May 21, 2013

Guerrilla Green Awards 2013 Grand Prize

Team Thirsty Fountain wins the grand prize!
Team Thirsty Fountain wins the grand prize!

As of October 22, 2012 Architecture for Humanity launched a project that puts the fate of the classroom into the hands of the students. Formatted as a three round competition, Guerrilla Green has challenged teens to visualize a plan to improve the spaces within their schools, introduced them to advocacy, and supported their visions by granting up to $13,000 to the most progressive ideas.

This month, May 2013, we’ve concluded the 2013 competition by hand-delivering a $10,000 check to a team of deserving students at the Design and Architecture Senior High School in Miami Florida. The winning team coalesced an in your face water reuse and conservation awareness campaign -- showing students, school administrators and showdown fans how much water is wasted every time someone takes a drink out of a traditional K12 school fountain. To help solve the problem, they built a contraption that collects the wasted water and redistributes it as gray water in their art classes.

To date, the Guerrilla Green competition has directly connected with over 400 students. But our impact reaches far beyond that scope. The teens involved in the competition have learned how to advocate their ideas, therefore, the exact impact cannot be calculated, as it webs far beyond our visual reach.

We are proud to say, many of the teams who competed in the three rounds have said that they will continue to move forward with their projects, and fight for more environmentally proactive spaces, despite not making it to the final round. Because of these motivated teens, the future of Guerrilla Green looks like a relatable resource for students to understand and incorporate environmental sustainability into their most used spaces. The conversation will be run by students, for students. The easiest way to get a teen to understand that going green is easy, is by showing them that it’s possible.

Want to see a showdown in your community in 2014? Don't be shy, send us a note.


Water collector.
Water collector.
Team Thirsty Fountain. Grand Prize winners.
Team Thirsty Fountain. Grand Prize winners.
Advocacy stickers made by Thirsty Fountain.
Advocacy stickers made by Thirsty Fountain.


May 15, 2013

New Resource: the Green Schools Investment Guide

Architecture for Humanity and the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released “The Green Schools Investment Guide for Healthy, Efficient and Inspiring Learning Spaces,” a free downloadable resource for K-12 schools and communities that demonstrates how schools can implement healthy and resource-efficient building improvements.

The Green Schools Investment Guide outlines the steps that any school stakeholder – from school administrators and elected officials to staff and students to parents and businesses – can take to transform their local schools. The 70-page, action-oriented resource demonstrates how investments in America’s school buildings can improve student and staff well-being and academic performance, conserve scarce resources and foster thriving and sustainable communities.

This collaboration is part of the Center for Green Schools’ Green Apple initiative, a cause-marketing effort that gives individuals companies and organizations the opportunity to transform all our schools into healthy, safe, cost-efficient and productive learning places for students. Through this collaboration, Architecture for Humanity and the Center for Green Schools will develop a joint fundraising model to tackle our nation’s deferred school maintenance bill by implementing school improvement projects, addressing school finance barriers and providing tools to educators.

The Green School Investment Guide is the first product of a joint initiative of Architecture for Humanity and the Center for Green Schools. We’re working together to create and apply resources that show how communities can make healthy building improvements in their schools.

At the heart of every healthy community, we see a green school: a healthy, safe, inspiring and resource efficient place for learning and leadership. We believe that every school can serve as a center for community life and an engine of renewal. We believe that where we learn matters.

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