The demise of the San Francisco founding office of Architecture for Humanity is dismaying. At a time when starchitecture is riding high, it is quite damning that 'architecture for summum bonum' is unable to find the funding support it needs to literally do truly laudable works.
This is an organisation that works with communities in disaster struck areas, or simply vulnerable areas receiving scant attention, to build homes, schools, community centres and more, along the way training and empowering local leaders. It operates from the premise that the best solution is a local solution and, therefore, community involvement in the design process is key.
Thankfully, other branches of Architecture for Humanity in New York, Vancouver, Washington DC, Boston, Chicago, London and Abuja, Nigeria will continue on, as the website says "...to provide architecture, planning and project management services, including construction management and post-occupancy analysis, and facilitate community engagement throughout each project".
Which brings me, as is always does, to Bermuda. What are we doing here on island to use architecture and planning services for good? Perhaps an unfair question to ask in this economy when planners and architects alike are struggling to keep their companies going and government downsizes. Nonetheless, I am reminded of the 2010 documentary, Poverty in Paradise (now available on YouTube in three parts), which told the story of poverty for women and children in Bermuda. Watch it. Get a clue about the other side of Bermuda and think about what you can do to help. Is an Architecture for Humanity (Bermuda) branch possible?