After succumbing to bankruptcy over a year ago, the remnant members of charitable design NGO Architecture for Humanity are staging a comeback as an international organisation operating under a new title.
At the time of its closure in January 2015 US-based Architecture for Humanity had been running for more than 15 years at the with the mandate of providing architectural services to humanitarian building projects, such as the creation of shelters for refugees from military conflicts or natural disaster.
At its peak the organisation encompassed over 60 local chapters, and garnered a slew of prestige honours including the Index Award – Design to Improve Life (community category), the Rave Award for Architecture from Wired Magazine, Innovation of the Year under the Observer Newspapers Ethical Award, the Center of Architecture Foundation Award, as well as the National Design Award from the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum for “its commitment to brining sustainable architecture to global communities in need.”
Despite this string of accolades the charitable organisation came to an abrupt demise at the start of 2015 for reasons that included ambition outstripping budget restrictions, and inability to maintain public interest or funding largesse due to the prevailing view that humanitarian design projects aren’t fundamental rights.
The constituent chapters of Architecture for Humanity are now reviving the organisation under a different name in order to continue its humanitarian design mission. After establishing interim organisation the Chapter Network in the immediate aftermath of group’s demise, Architecture of Humanity’s local chapters have rebranded themselves as the Open Architecture Collaborative under an even more ambitious humanitarian mandate.
“The mission of equitable professional service first brought us together, and the power of its impact and ongoing need had kept us driven,” said executive director Garret Jacobs in an official statement. “Now OAC takes our work to the next level, retooling our approach to reach more people than we ever imagined with the level of locally focused engagement that humanitarian design ultimately demand.
“I very much look forward to what we will do together in the months ahead.”
OAC has re-formed Architecture for Humanity into a 30-chapter organisation with an international scope based on grassroots governance and a stated mission of “design advocacy, facilitation, assessment and small build services to…local marginalised communities.”