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.
Nov 4, 2013

Navigating the Path Towards Sandy Reconstruction

Today we remember the tragic effects of Hurricane Sandy as it struck countless communities and individuals throughout the East Coast. Our dedication to working with and to helping communities continues to stand strong as we pave a path towards a more resilient and sustainable future for New York and New Jersey residents.

Working with Communities to Build Back Better
Letter from Rachel Minnery, New York Regional Program Manager

In its 15-year history, Architecture for Humanity has launched nine post-disaster programs worldwide, but when the largest hurricane on record hit the largest city in the United States in the very last days of hurricane season, we knew it would be something different.

Five million individuals affected by the storm were facing a long road ahead. We remain compassionately committed to resilient post-disaster reconstruction because we know from our years of work with survivor communities that there is no easy button, no off-the-shelf solutions at the local hardware store, and very little light shed on the path forward for those needing to rebuild their lives. Architecture for Humanity created a program to focus on the communities with the greatest need for design and construction services. We wouldn’t just build back – we would help survivors build back better, stronger, and more resiliently. I am honored to work for some incredibly strong, warm and wonderful survivors, and very grateful to our many partners, funders, volunteers and collaborators who have generously offered their time and support where there is still overwhelming need.

...Continue reading Rachel's letter here.

In this update:

Spotlight Sandy Design Help Desk Complete

Sandy Design Help Desk Meets the Rockaways

For one week in October, the NY regional office in collaboration with partners including Enterprise Community Partners Inc., NYC Office of Housing Recovery, Pratt Center for Community Development and Margert Community Corporation, created a pilot project to pair trained volunteer architects and designers with Sandy-affected home and business owners, who have questions about their rebuilding options, building codes and design issues.

Read more about the Sandy Design Help Desk here.

In August, the Sandy team met with a group of Rockaway homeowners, to hear their concerns and needs, to discuss the rebuilding process, and to share our homeowners resource, The Sandy Puzzle: Piecing Together the Rebuilding Resources for Your Home.

updates Extending Impact

Extending impact: Symposiums, Lectures and Training

Collaboration, plus the sharing of knowledge and expertise with community members and the design and humanitarian community, is key in the long-term rebuilding process. From post-Sandy response training for our NY Chapter, to follow up Safety Assessment Program (SAP) training for NY architects, to this month's anniversary-related symposiums, we are dedicated to sharing best practices and lessons learned with all those wanting to participate in the rebuilding process.

Watch an interview with Rachel Minnery, New York Regional Program Manager who discusses the role of architects in disaster response and recovery as part of her contribution to the The Architect’s Handbook of Professional Practice published by the American Institute of Architects, here.

Neighborhood Assessment Report

Neighborhood Assessment Report: How communities were impacted by Sandy

Assisting the Reconstruction and Resiliency Studio in understanding the true needs existing within New York City's coastal communities, the New York Chapter became the eyes and ears on the ground as we developed an appropriate response program.

Data gathering is essential in any post-disaster situation, first to understand the needs then to coordinate response effort. In the weeks following Sandy, the NY Chapter gathered and trained hundreds of volunteers in community field assessments in neighborhoods throughout New York City. The interviews and information gathered were documented in the Neighborhood Assessment Report. Read more about this report here.

On the Ground: Projects in progress

On the Ground: Projects in progress

As projects move forward the team is thrilled to lead three exciting community workshops for the communities of Seaside Heights (today, 10/29), Tom's River (10/31) and Little Ferry (11/6), New Jersey. Working hand-in-hand with individuals in the community and listening to their needs and ideas, is essential in a participatory community design process. It makes the places we create more successful and the work far more rewarding. Together, we are helping to build a unified vision for a more sustainable and resilient future for affected areas. We have a deep gratitude for those who have made this work possible. While we can't always acknowledge our donors individually in the construction itself, donors to the Restore the Shore program will be able to find their names on dedicated planks along the boardwalk.

Keep track of our projects on our Hurricane Sandy program page on the Open Architecture Network.

In Progress:

Thank You

Only possible with your support.
The work of Architecture for Humanity and the Hurricane Sandy Reconstruction Program is possible with the support of hundreds of individuals and organizations. A special thank you goes out to the following organizations:

Funding Partners
20x200, 495 Productions, After the Storm, American Institute of Architects, Aronson's Inc, Autodesk, Inc., Big League Dreams, LLC, Cecilia McConnell, Earthcolor, Inc, Evco Global Inc, EYP, Inc, Fashion Girls for Humanity, Fifth & Pacific, GlobalGiving, Harrah's Atlantic City Operating Co. LLC, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, HMC Designing Futures Foundation, James Perse, Jillian Emery, John P. & Anne Welsh McNulty Foundation, Modell's Sporting Goods, MTV Networks, NEP Snooki Enterprises, Nike Inc., Omaze, Razoo Foundation, Run4NJ, Score the Shore, Scott Marshall, The Eileen Fisher Foundation, Viacom International Inc., VPL, XL Construction, and many more.

Acari+Iovino Architects, American Institute of Architects New Jersey, American Institute of Architects New York and the Design for Risk and Reconstruction Committee, American Institute of Architects Disaster Assistance Committee, American Planning Association New Jersey, Andrew Franz Architect, PLLC, Architecture for Humanity NYC Chapter, Arup, Cannon Design, Chris Sullivan, Clinton Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative, C.W. Brearley Architects, Emerging New York Architects, Enterprise Community Partners Inc., Gensler - Morristown Office, Google, Illya Azaroff, Indiegogo, Innogive Foundation, Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture, The Cooper Union, Jennifer Dunn, Jesse Keenan, Lance Jay Brown, Margert Development Corporation, MASNYC, Michael Green Architects, MobileCause, New Jersey Institute of Technology, NYC Dept. of Buildings, NYC Dept. of Education, NYC Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Office of Emergency Management, NYC Office of Housing Recovery, NYC School Construction Authority, Perkins+Will, Pratt Center for Community Development, Pratt Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, Solar One, St. Bernard Project, The Wexler Family, Turner & Townsend Ferzan Robbins, Zach Rice, and many more.

A special thank you to all the volunteers who dedicated their time to helping in the Sandy response efforts and who continue tirelessly to volunteer their skills and knowledge to help others. 

How To Help
contact us  get services  give services  donate

Support communities who need to rebuild by donating and sharing our message with your friends and family. Thank you in advance for your support.


Oct 31, 2013

Tohoku Reconstruction Update: October 2013

Tohoku Newsletter Banner October 2013

September 22 marked the arrival of Fall. October is a great time to visit Japan, as temperatures have lowered but are still warm, and trees begin to change colors in the Northern regions and at higher elevations. We look forward to the full arrival of Fall.

Our office has been busy with our eight RFP projects moving along - one of which is already completed! A new workshop series at MakiBiz begins this month, and the Kamaishi Park for All project is also moving forward with construction almost ready to begin. Read more below.

We hope this month treats you well, as temperatures begin to lower!

Best, Architecture for Humanity

Yamayo SuisanMakiBiz Request for Proposal Program
The MakiBiz Request for Proposal (RFP) program supports the rebuilding of small businesses and entrepreneurs affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011. Winners were identified in early August, and have since been moving forward with their projects full steam. Read here to read about our eight winners!


Archtiect submitting the permit set
On August 24th, Toyo Ito Associates, Architects (TIAA) completed the drawings and submitted the permit set to the Kamaishi building department to receive their construction permit. Everything is set to move forward, and we are currently negotiating with contractors to begin construction in early-November.

MakiBiz has supported 120 business owners to date. Information about our clients along with other MakiBiz updates can be found here.

MakiBIz Signage InstalledMakiBiz Signage Installed!
MakiBiz finally has exterior signage installed, making us more visible within the community welcoming clients into our space! Designed by the Tokyo-based design team KBT (pronounced "Kabuto"), these flags officially announce our arrival in Ishinomaki. Find these flags in Ishinomaki and come say hello! See update here.



MakiBiz Seminar Series: Business Psychology
MakiBiz Seminar Series: Business Psychology
A new round of seminars began at MakiBiz on October 11. This series of 4 seminars will be lead by NPO Iwate Mirai Kikoh, in the evenings at our MakiBiz office free of charge. The seminar will cover the topics of: Behavioral Psychology for Negotiation and Marketing; Communication methods; Color Psychology to Captivate People's Hearts; and Stress Check and Relaxation Methods in the Office Environment. See this flyer (in Japanese only) to sign up.




In Progress


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


Oct 29, 2013

Rebuild Moore Update: October 2013

While it has been 5 months since the tornadoes hit the Oklahoma region in May, communities are still recovering. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency numbers, an estimated 1,300 homes and two schools were destroyed by the storm, and the community is still struggling to get back on their feet. Students continue to attend school at temporary locations, and residents are just now obtaining building permits to begin their rebuilding efforts.

Veteran Architecture for Humanity volunteer, Tommy Stewart, AIA, AICP, LEED, has been on the ground meeting with those involved with the ongoing recovery efforts since May. In Oklahoma, he has been meeting with various local stakeholders in search for ways in which Architecture for Humanity can help the community rebuild resiliently against future storms.

Tommy has been meeting with local long-term reconstruction committees and has participated in the local dialogue to assess unmet needs and build partnerships. In moving our Resilient Oklahoma program forward, he was joined by studio director, Eric Cesal in mid-September, to meet with key organizations in the area. Through meeting these organizations, we look forward to further cultivating partnerships and to continue expanding the program's reach.


Resilient Oklahoma

As announced in August, our Resilient Oklahoma Program will help us work with communities to implement a regional disaster resiliency plan in cities across Oklahoma, particularly in vulnerable communities. To begin, we are moving forward with plans to embed our design fellows deeply within these communities. In recent conversations with the City of Moore and FEMA, Architecture for Humanity is in conversation to have one design fellow embedded in each of these two parties, to maximize the program's impact. Each of these design fellows will be charged with assisting survivors in developing resilient strategies for community planning and home building.


Interested in Getting Involved?

We are still on the search for design fellows. If you are a licensed architect, planner or engineer enthused in promoting resiliency in affected communities throughout Oklahoma, we'd love to hear from you!


donate now:

Make a monthly recurring donation on your credit card. You can cancel at any time.
Make a donation in honor or memory of:
What kind of card would you like to send?
How much would you like to donate?
  • $30
  • $125
  • $625
  • $2,500
  • $30
    each month
  • $125
    each month
  • $625
    each month
  • $2,500
    each month
  • $
gift Make this donation a gift, in honor of, or in memory of someone?

Reviews of Architecture for Humanity

Great Nonprofits
Read and write reviews about Architecture for Humanity on