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.
Jan 29, 2013

Project development & designer recruitment

The conversation and coordination expanded in December and January as our 600-strong NYC Chapter stepped up to assist in community surveys and we meet with local officials to determine where we can make the largest impact.

Efforts are ramping up - we have secured a permanent office and have begun recruiting staff for project execution.

At present we have launched the following:

Further Prospects for Seaside Heights

We've been working with the City of Seaside Heights identifying critical projects while the Sandy Aid package makes its way through Congress. The bill's passage would be a critical asset to reconstruction, but our conversations revolve around community assets that could easily be overlooked in the broader recovery.

As actions are being taken to get the Boardwalk rebuilt for the Summer, projects to benefit full-time Seaside Heights residents are being identified, as Mayor Bill Akers recently mentioned. We're excited to confirm these projects in the next couple weeks.

Community Surveys

Since November the New York City chapter has been collecting stories and needs of community members around New Jersey and New York States. To date, 11 neighborhoods have been assessed, with 60 surveys completed. Simultaneously the chapters are evaluating conditions of schools - identifying critical conditions, and building partnerships to reclaim spaces from the superstorm's destruction.

The surveyors will share their findings at the next NYC Chapter meeting on February 5th (7PM); experiences and next steps will both be discussed. Visit to the NYC Chapter page for more information.

Join our team

The first stage of long-term reconstruction is coming to a close. We have established a presence and base of operations in the New York / New Jersey area, and are now recruiting to grow our team and capacity as projects solidify and design gets into full swing through the rest of Winter.

Currently we are recruiting a full-time Regional Program Manager to carry the program through the long-term, and are also recruiting design fellows: one to coordinate Restore the Shore, our work in Seaside Heights, New Jersey; a second to coordinate ReNew York / New Jersey school reconstruction.

Special thanks to Seattle Chapter head Steve Dombrowski introduced us to his family in Seaside Heights and our first bungalow-based regional office.

Jan 24, 2013

Bati Byen: 2012 Year in Review

Bati Byen: Rebuilding in Haiti 2012 Year in Review

“Where would we be without you!?! The expertise you've provided and the partners you've connected us to have fueled our vision.”
- John Engle, Co-Director, Haiti Partners

“I admire the participatory and collaborative method of Architecture for Humanity. It’s an approach that has impressed a lot of people. We have faith that the project will come off properly.”
- Will Civil, member of Komite Humanitaire de Villa Rosa and resident of Morne Rosa

"Among our students, some may become lawyers, other doctors or architects to help this country, and the first step is this school."
- Wilson d'Or, Headmaster, Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger, Montrouis

Our third annual update on our long-term post disaster work in Haiti finds the Rebuilding Center continuing its holistic strategy to rebuild buildings, neighborhoods, industries and economies. We would like take a moment today and bring our supporters and fans up to speed on our progress, and to thank them for their continued support and enthusiasm for our work. Thank you.

In 2012 we continued our well-regarded work in construction outreach, training and design services, have built exciting partnerships with local Haitian banks to support business loan programs, and have established a strong community-based planning platform for the grassroots development and strengthening of neighborhoods. The Center was able to expand the scope of its services by launching three autonomous studios: Architecture and Construction; Planning; and Economic Development. This arrangement allows for more specialized pursuit of a broader range of projects while improving collaboration within the Rebuilding Center. See below for more details on each of these studios.

The Rebuilding Center also continues to transition to Haitian ownership and operation. We have brought all administration and management roles in-house, most of which being performed by Haitian nationals. This transition is crucial to the success of the Center as a Haitian effort to perpetuate good construction and collaboration years into the future.

Our Impact

The impact metrics below reflect our work as of January 12, 2013:

6.3 million Dollars in construction funding leveraged by the Rebuilding Center in 2012 alone
48,000 Beneficiaries from clinics built in 2012
2100 Students gaining access to safe & delightful classrooms last year
400 Haitian jobs created or recovered in 2012
Hundreds of design and construction professionals participating in our monthly Meet n Greet open house and Haitian lecture series
46 Participants of 10 professional seminars to date
36 Community design workshops and charrettes held to date, with an average of 25 people attending each charrette
32 Architects, engineers and support staff at the Rebuilding Center - including 4 long-term professional volunteers and 22 Haitian staffers
9 School projects - 3 fully complete, 4 completed phase one or partially open, 2 in construction
9 Projects completed in 2012, with 7 in design and construction, and still others in initial stages of development

Video Highlights

Video: Artists for Haiti
Architecture for Humanity:
Haiti Rebuilding Center

Artists for Haiti & Ciné Institute

Video: Students Rebuild
A Story of Youth in Action
Students Rebuild

Video: Frederic King
Haiti Redux (Trailer)
Frederic King

2012 Milestones

Pathway improvements in Saint Marie





In an effort to address more systemic challenges, the Rebuilding Center formalized a Planning Studio and team to lead outreach and mapping, workshops and charrettes, and partnerships that empower neighborhood residents to rebuild their communities.

Haiti Rural Mapping Initiative
With a grant from the WK Kellogg Foundation, Architecture for Humanity has completed the physical mapping of 11 communes across southern and central Haiti. This represents 25% of the country and for many towns and villages is the first time these areas have been mapped. All maps were incorporated into the online open source platform and integrated into the national geospatial database. Design Fellow and project manager Olivia Stinson explains how it all got done.

Villa Rosa and Sainte Marie
The Rebuilding Center completed the Community Action Plan for this primarily informal Port-au-Prince neighborhood in collaboration with Cordaid, UN Habitat and many other partners. This included extensive reconstruction of physical infrastructure, public spaces and housing. Rebuilding Center volunteer Nazanin Mehregan discusses the community mapping and workshop process that informs community plans.

Community led sports court     construction in Villa Rosa 





Design & Construction

Construction Program
The big success story of the year has been the in-house construction work carried out by our Construction Management Team. This work builds on the construction outreach program whereby our engineers have been trained in design and construction and are now acting as small scale contractors on a variety of on-budget, on-schedule, autonomous projects including the Elie Dubois Kitchen and Villa Rosa's Infrastructure and Basketball Court.

In March 2010 we set out to design and build 10 schools on a phased basis. While we still do not have all the funding required, 3 are now fully complete, phase 1 at 3 more is now complete and ongoing on the other schools, and phase 2 is underway on 6 schools. The program is growing steadily and the unique character of each school is being complemented by a piece of commissioned civic art.

Three primary care facilities were completed in 2012. These clinics provide essential daily care to thousands of people, particularly in rural areas.

Property Law Working Group
The Rebuilding Center is participating in an interdisciplinary working group assessing, clarifying and proposing reforms to Haiti's property law system, widely viewed as an obstruction to permanent reconstruction around the country. The final report of the first year's research is expected in early 2013. Planning Design Fellow Rickie Siegel explains the complex factors that the Group is addressing. We will post the report as soon as it is available on the Rebuilding Center update page.

A     woodworking shop on Route de Delmas





Economic Development

Much progress has been made this year on a small and medium enterprise (SME) loan program - a first for Haitian banks financing business reconstruction. At this writing, 12 loans are going through due diligence at four banks, and a fifth local bank has expressed interest in the program.

Discussions relating to housing microfinance loans have been ongoing with local and international institutions.

Project Overview

For a full list of our active (15) and completed (19) projects, please visit the Haiti Rebuilding Center Project Hub Page.

Nov 21, 2012

Special Update: Japan matching campaign extended!

Great news!  Global Giving's Japan Matching Campaign has been extended until November 30 11:59pm EST, so there's still time to have your donations doubled!

Again, during this campaign all donations will be doubled (matched 100% by Global Giving).  Please take this limited opportunity to double your donation in helping Architecture for Humanity Build Back Better Tohoku!

There are also bonus dollars of $1000 for the project that has the most unique amount of donors, so please help us spread the word - tell your friends, family, and colleagues, make phone calls, send emails, post on facebook, tweet on twitter, etc.  Here are some sample tweets:

  • Donations DOUBLED (matched 100%) for a limited time! Help @archforhumanity #BuildBackBetter #Tohoku by donating today!
  • Don't miss this chance to DOUBLE your donation & help @archforhumanity help #Tohoku #BuildBackBetter! Spread the word!
  • 8 days left to DOUBLE your donation!  #Tohoku still needs your help. Help @archforhumanity help #Tohoku. Donate today!

Any amount is greatly appreciated, as it helps us ensure that we continue helping Tohoku Build Back Better.

huge heartfelt thank you to everyone who has donated so far.  We have been able to raise nearly 2,500 dollars so far with your generous support.

kitakami construction   maeamihama groundbreaking   banya near completion

Recent updates on projects include:

  • Shizugawa Banya 
    Project near completion
  • Kitakami "We Are One" Market and Youth Center
    Using a unique method of construction called the "Itakura method," the pre-assembled boards were slotted between posts to form the perimeter of the building.  In only a few short days, the youth center has really begun to take shape!
  • Maeami-hama Community House
    We officially broke ground on November 4th with members of the Maeami community, KMDW, and Architecture for Humanity staff.  Construction hs begun, panels have arrived to the site, and column panels have begun to be assembled. 

These projects would not have been possible without your generous donation.  We cannot stress enough how much your donations mean to our program and hope for your continued interest and support!


Best Regards,
Architecture for Humanity

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