2008 Year in Review

2008 Year in Review

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Dec 21, 2008
  • comments

Dear all,

It's been another busy year. With projects in places as farflung as Nairobi, Kenya; Hyderabad, India; and the Gulf Coast in the U.S., just coordinating time zones for conference calls took some doing.

We grew from about 41 chapters to 135 chapters in more than 25 countries, all undertaking their own exciting projects. Our staff also doubled from six to 12 people, and we welcomed more than 41 design fellows and volunteers compared with 12 last year.

A heartfelt thank you to all of our donors, sponsors, volunteers and to our staff, without which none of this would have been possible.

This year we also spent a good deal of time laying the groundwork for growing the organization in the years to come. We completed a strategic plan, added new functionality and upgraded the Open Architecture Network, put in place a number of new internal systems and controls, redesigned our web site, began redesigning our office and developed tools and guides for chapters that will be implemented next year.

Our goals for next year: To better support our chapters and provide more clients with innovative and effective design. No doubt, we'll need all the help we can get. We invite you to get involved.

In Memory | Open Architecture Network | Design Programs | Post-Disaster Reconstruction | Chapter Programs | Volunteer Projects | Advocacy and Awareness | Awards & Recognition | 2009 in Preview | Comings and Goings | 2008 by the Numbers

In Memory

"I decided I had enough. I closed the office, bought a motorcycle, and went into the desert to work with the people on their ideas and dreams" Nader Khalili, 2005

This year we saw the passing of a number pioneers in the industry. From Earthbag construction inventor Nader Khalili, to Ralph Rapson, Sydney Opera House architect Jorn Utzon to Viramaaditya Prakash. Each of these architects pushed boundaries of how, where and why we build. Let us know who you would like to remember.

On a personal note all of us at Architecture for Humanity were saddened by the passing of David Desporte, one of our Biloxi Model Home Program clients. When we first met David and his wonderful wife Jeanette they were cooped up in a poorly constructed FEMA trailer yet they were full of life. Over the summer David's health deteriorated. Designer Maurice Cox with CP+D Workshop and the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio and the Biloxi team work diligently to bring him home. They moved in and he died three days later.

Open Architecture Network

There are so many ideas that can be shared through the network, and the sense of empowerment you get from seeing projects realized is fantastic. I am just grateful that the network is there, and I hope people not just post their projects but become more participatory in exchanging and connecting with others." — Maria Ayub, Open Architecture Network Member

The site grew from 8,793 to 14,483 registered users and the number of projects doubled to more than 2188. We continued building the Open Architecture Network, including a major system upgrade. We partnered with Autodesk to incorporate Freewheel—a significant new tool that allows users to view and comment on CAD files inline on the web page. These behind-the-scenes changes to the site, will allow us to add long-awaited functionality and develop the resources area of the site. So, expect to see some major changes coming in '08.

Best of the Open Architecture Network:
A few highlights from the hundreds of projects posted to the site this year:

Centre pour le bien-etre des FemmesGabion RecoveryDesign Build : PNGFreret Street Community Transit ShelterCentro de Salud Verde JiquipilcoHannah's HopeA home for NGO Pé de Arte, Cultura e EducaçãoLife in 1.5’ x 30’ Changing SEMIOTICS of urban grey spaceHandmade, the Mud house in BangladeshZero Energy HomeProposal for Vancouver's Downtown EastsideJacobs Place

Please Note: These projects are not sponsored by Architecture for Humanity and were posted independently by design teams working around the world. We thank them for sharing their inspiring work.

Design Programs

SIDAREC Community Resource Center, Kenya
As we entered 2008 over 800 design professionals from 59 countries submitted their entries to the 2007 Open Architecture Challenge on digital inclusion.

In June we announced the overall winners as The Global Studio and SIDAREC at the World Economic Forum in Africa. We met Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga who was quite taken with the design (he did ask if we could scale to 200). From then on it was a big push to go from concept to schematics and it seemed almost every month we had a new group offering to help realize this dream.

In the fall The Global Studio and project manager Elaine Uang traveled to Kenya for community workshops and to interview a number of Nairobi firms to serve as site architects. Planning Systems won the bid. Currently we are having a bit of a lull as Kenya tends to have an extended holiday over the xmas period. We are slated to break ground in late spring 2009.

Football for Hope
Architecture for Humanity is working with FIFA and streetfootballworld on the Football for Hope – 20 Centres for 2010, the official campaign of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa. The aim is to build twenty Football for Hope Centres for public health, education and football in disadvantaged African communities. The centres will address local challenges and promote social and community development by increasing awareness about HIV/AIDS, by improving gender equality and educational opportunities for youth as well as by integrating youth with intellectual disabilities. The overall aim of the Football for Hope movement is to use the power of the game for positive social change.

The first centre is underway and being designed in South Africa with and for Grassroots Soccer-an organization that uses football to teach kids about HIV and AIDS. This centre is flying along with the support and dedication of Architecture for Humanity's Regional Program Manager Eugene da Silva, Design Fellow Oana Stanescu and Verena Grips of the firm arG Design. Other centres are planned in Namibia, Mali, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana.

Alternative Masonry Unit
Earlier this year Architecture for Humanity was donated the intellectual property behind a material that could and help communities around the world build using agriculture waste. In the coming year we will be field testing the material with a team of designers.

Post-disaster Reconstruction

Cyclone Nargis
Combining the Open Architecture Network and SMS messaging we were able to respond within hours of Cyclone Nargis hitting Burma, as well as connected with architects and builders in Rangoon. On that first day we began raising funds online and long time supporter MortarNet held a $2,500 matching campaign.

Architecture for Humanity began working with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and with Thai-based designers Nattawut Usavagovitwong, Tee Augkasuwapala, Suchon Mallikamarl and Kidsada Polsup. They first coordinated field assessments and developed a reconstruction plan for five clustered villages in Kunyangon Township. They will begin work in full ernest in 2009.

Tsunami Program
We may not be the first to arrive but we are usually the last to leave. Design Fellow Susi Platt returned back to the UK as she saw out our UN Habitat projects in Sri Lanka while Design Fellow Purnima McCutcheon continued to finish up community facilities for villages in Tamil Nadu, India. In January co-founder Kate Stohr and Design Fellow Purnima McCutcheon will attend the last ribbon cutting session of our work.

Hurricane Katrina

Architecture for Humanity has been the wing beneath my wings—Herreast Harrison, Guardians Institute, New Orleans

Over last three years we've gotten to know and respect so many of the people and families we worked with in the rebuilding effort. We slept on floors, in car parks, in cars (as heard on Car Talk), in tents and sofas to help families home. All in all thousands of families lives were touched by Architecture for Humanity volunteers, design fellows and architects.

Here's a few of the projects, made possible with your support:

Housing Recovery:
Biloxi Model Home Program, Biloxi, MS by Various
Mona Lisa Saloy Residence, New Orleans, LA by Maureen Nes, John Dwyer and Tracy Nelson
Ms. Kathy's Laundry Room, Waveland, MS by University of Minnesota

Community Design Studios and Construction Workshops
Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, Biloxi, MS led by Mississippi State University
Mike's Construction Workshop, Biloxi, MS led by Mike Grote, Architecture for Humanity and Hands On Network
Hands-On Preservation Workshops, led by Heritage Conservation Network
Design Studio at NENA, New Orleans, LA, led by John Dwyer, AIA

Community Rebuilding:
John Henry Beck Red HouseBiloxi, MS by GCCDS and Hand On Network
Willie Maes Scotch House restaurant by Heritage Conservation Network
Calhoun McCormick Gallery and Studio by Shelter Architecture
Calhoun Residence and Back House by Shelter Architecture
Guardian Institute, New Orleans, LA by Rockwell Group

Even after completing all these projects, it's humbling to realize how much is left to do on the Gulf Coast.

Chapter Programs

From Dhaka to London to Toronto to Urbana, Illinois our chapters did amazing work advocating and implementing projects for social good.

Here are some great projects that exemplify what our chapters are all about:

  • Broadway Women's Shelter by Architecture for Humanity NY
  • Native Centre by Architecture for Humanity Toronto
  • Live in 1.5' by 30' by Architecture for Humanity Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Secondary School and Orphanage in Uganda by Architecture for Humanity-Denver
  • Homeless Locker Storage by Architecture for Humanity-Minnesota
  • Transitional Housing and Biloxi Shade Structure by Architecture for Humanity-Austin
  • Design for the Children Competition - Pediatric Health Clinic from Architecture for Humanity-Seattle.
  • 54 members and counting joined Architecture for Humanity-New Delhi this year.
    Other fun events hosted by the chapters included exhibitions, lectures and the occasional mini-marathon. The Boston chapter hosted the later and Brian McNamara and Alexandra Lang won the annual Run Like You Give a Damn race.

    Check out the Chapter section on our site to learn about joining a chapter and for details on more great projects.

    Volunteer Projects

    Kutumba Primary School, Uganda
    Architecture for Humanity helped provide design and construction management services through MacGuyer/architect Matt Miller
    The Kutamba Primary School is focused on elementary education of orphaned children in Southern Uganda. In collaboration with Architecture for Humanity and the Nyaka AIDS Orphans School, Kutamba's parent organization, the project included the design and construction of a school facility including classrooms, offices, kitchen/dining, library, infirmary/nurse's space, and play space. Read more.

    Youth with a Vision Children's Village, South Africa
    Architecture for Humanity and NextAid provided funding and support for Design Fellow Chris Harnish to work alongside the Youth With A Vision. Harnish found himself in rural Dennilton, South Africa managing the construction administration, working with the local labor team, reworking the site plan, creating designs for future structures and helping to develop necessary site infrastructure such as irrigation systems and a borehole for water supply. Read more.

    TunaHAKI Orphanage and Performing Arts Center, Tanzania
    Architecture for Humanity provided funding for design services for Cohen and Armstrong Architecture and Hollmen Reuter Sandman architects to work alongside the TunaHAKI foundations.

    The collaborative team did site visits and went threw the nerve racking drawing submissions process with flying colors. In the fall the project was awarded a Holcim regional acknowledgment award and TunaHAKI founder Scott Fifer and actor Ewan McGregor hosted a fundraiser in Los Angeles raising tens of thousands towards construction. Read more.

    Plastiki, Pacific Ocean
    In collaboration with Adventure Ecology, Nathaniel Corum and Architecture for Humanity volunteer Michael Jones are design/build-ing a habitation pod and coordinating off-grid systems for Plastiki, a 100% recycled plastic bottle boat. The 7,500 mile trans-Pacific journey is anticipated to begin in spring/summer 2009. Read more.

    Advocacy and Awareness

    Workshops
    During 2008 we held a series of physical workshops around the world including: Drexel University, Fabrica @ Benetton, Google SketchUp, and University of Southern California

    Hosted Competitions
    Beyond the Biennial Open Architecture Challenge we've begun to host a series of competitions. In the summer we helped launch Sportables and in the fall was the Discarded Dreams Recycled Mattress Design Competition.

    An Unnatural Disaster @ Google
    Architecture for Humanity fan, Cole Gerst/Option G, helped us poke fun at ourselves by designing the 'unnatural disaster' theme for iGoogle. A recent UFO accident has left the residents of the planet Alpha Centari with a number of damaged homes. Fortunately the local Architecture for Humanity chapter helps bring the community and stranded extra terrestrials (new residents) together by using our community design process to build UFO resistant housing solutions. Check it out.

    Awards & Recognition

    This year the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum recognized Architecture for Humanity with the prestigious Design Patron Award.

    We made it to the top 25 of American Express's Members Project. Our designers and chapters were covered from everything from O magazine, Business Week, the International Herald Tribune, the Globe and Mail to the monthly magazine of the Vatican. CNN profiled our work. Frontline/World did a feature on our work after the South East Asia Tsunami and our work rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina was featured in the series Iconoclast on the Sundance Channel. Locally, Architecture for Humanity New York was featured on NY1's New Yorker of the Week for their work. (We think they are New Yorker's of the Week every week.)

    2009 Year in Preview

    Today's Lesson: Classroom Design
    According to the World Bank, putting all children worldwide in school by 2015 will constitute, collectively, the biggest building project the world ahs ever seen. To meet this goal, some 10 million new classrooms will be needed spread over 100 countries. Let's get started. Beginning in January, the 2009 Open Architecture Challenge: Classroom will invite designers around the world to partner with schools in their communtiy to start thinking about the classroom of the future. Reach out to a school near you and get ready to enter the competition. Registration begins January 29, 2009

    Wanted: Challenge Ambassadors Learn more.

    10 Year Anniversary
    How do you celebrate ten years of design in service of the common good? We'll soon find out. Next year we stop counting with our fingers and move into double digits. We hope you will join us in celebrating the work thousands of designers around the world who are helping redefine good design every day.

    Advisory Board: Please advise
    Any thoughts? Seriously. Every two years we renew our board and in 2009 a new crop will emerge. Traditionally we pick folks who are international and come from diverse industries that shape the built environment. However we've caught the open source bug and are all about crowd-sourced ideas. So shoot us your thoughts by the end of the year. Remember it is out 10th year, so think big.

    Comings & Goings

    We assembled a formidable team in the office. Barb Alvarado joined as Executive Assistant/Associate Development Director. Joining Barb, Joyce Engebretsen came on board to support operations, and Kelsey Ochs joined as Program Administrator.

    Our program staff also grew, and now includes Elaine Uang and Kimberley O’Dowd. Ben Hester joined Drupal developer Mike McCaffrey re-invent our web-site and transform the Open Architecture Network into a robust knowledge sharing resource. To keep us on the straight and narrow our bookkeeper Bebe Bertolet partnered with new CFO John Hartley. Finally we welcomed Clifford Curry as a new board member.

    Every week it seemed there were new design fellows and volunteers in the office.

    We'd like to thank: Sarah Alvarez, Alioune Ba, Cynthia Barton, Gabriela Bueno, Stacey Cedergren, Azahar Checa, Blake Clark, Melanie de Cola, Sanya Detwiler, Eleanor Dunk, Eugene da Silva, Yes Duffy, John Dwyer, Patty Siu-Lan Fung, Beth Eby, Lis Evans, Grant Garrison, Mike Grote, Jared Heming, Anna Hallgrimsdottir, Sandhya Janardhan, Stacy Jed, Michael Jones, Megan Keely, Youngjin Kim, Henry Kitchen, Wenlin Li, Aaron Lim, Jonathan Lo, Reiko Matsuo, Vikky McArthur, Iheanyi Ngumez, Joshua Palmer, Joe Payne, Susanna Pho, Finley Pitt, Allison Price, Maria Prudlow, Alejandra Reyes, Rob Riethmiller, Anand Seth, Michael Steiner, Oana Stanescu, Ginny Uyesugi, all those who supported our office remodel and the many others who have supported us this past year.

    On the flipside, it's never easy to say goodbye to those who’ve dedicated their time, passion and drive to the organization. Architecture for Humanity anchor Beth Orser moved on. In the field Chris Harnish, Susi Platt, Nicole Joslin, Matt Miller and Nicole Nowak hung up their Architecture for Humanity hats...for now. We miss them and we thank them for their dedication.

    By The Numbers

    45,853 Total Building Occupants (Primary and Secondary)
    40,079 Newsletter Members
    14,455 Registered users on the Open Architecture Network
    12,380 Cups of coffee drunk in our offices
    3,700 Active Chapter Members
    172 Buildings Constructed
    135 Local Chapters formed and in development (41 in 2007)
    80 Number of pizzas ordered during the office redesign
    41 Design Fellows (12 in 2007)
    30 Structures in development
    30 Professional Firms partnering on 2008 projects
    12 Full time staff members (6 in 2007)
    3 Number of times we were introduced as community organizers in Alaska