Architecture for Humanity,
In 1999 the fighting in Kosovo was at a peak and tens of thousands of refugees from the fighting were fleeing to camps. Their prospects looked grim. Cameron Sinclair was then an architect in our office. One day he asked a simple question, “What can architects do to ease this misery?” Then he answered it, “Not much really, but they can design.” So began an architectural call for ideas from around the world on how to build temporary refugee housing. It was also the beginning of Architecture for Humanity.
The resulting competition was extraordinary. A jury was selected that included architects, like Steven Holl, Todd Williams and Billie Tsien, experts on refugees and disaster relief professionals. With a simple web page, the competition sought submissions from around the world. Entry fees from entrants were donated to War Child, the children’s relief organization. Over two hundred arrived in our office.