After 15 years, Architecture for Humanity abruptly closes

After 15 years, Architecture for Humanity abruptly closes

Mitazono Wakaba Kindergarten was part of Architecture for Humanity’s Tohoku Earthquake Tsunami Rebuilding . (Courtesy Arch for Humanity)

Late in the day on Friday, December 16, Cameron Sinclair, the co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, sent a letter that stunned the world of public interest architecture. According to Sinclair, Architecture for Humanity is closing its doors. John King of the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed that the San Francisco–based staff had been laid off at the beginning of the month.

The organization, which Sinclair founded with Kate Stohr, responded to natural disasters around the world with innovative pro-bono architecture in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the United States. At its peak, Architecture for Humanity had 60 chapters and won a National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Sinclair and Stohr are no longer with the organization. Calls to Architecture for Humanity did not go through.

Sinclair’s letter in full:

We just heard the news that Architecture for Humanity, the organization we started more than 15 years ago, has pivoted its mission and is planning to close. We are deeply saddened by this.

Our hearts are with the staff and chapter members who worked so hard to build a wonderful organization that did so much for communities around the world. We made so many wonderful friends and will continue personally to support your work.

We ran the organization and grew it from just a small circle of volunteers to an international organization with chapters in 25 countries. For more than 10 years, together we led the movement to bring social design where it is needed most. We built award-winning buildings, ran innovative programs, personally raised more than $5 million in annual funding, year in and year out, and established more than five community design centers that set the standard for rebuilding after disaster.

We hope the profession will continue to design like a give damn–in whatever form that takes… And we urge the chapters to continue their much needed work.

Thank you,
Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr
Co-founders, Architecture for Humanity