In an email, Architecture for Humanity co-founders Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr have said that the organization has "pivoted its mission and is planning to close," after 15 years of connecting communities in need with professional design services. SF Gate is reporting that all staff were laid off on January 1, and its San Francisco HQ has closed down.
This news follows organizational shakeups in 2013 that saw Sinclair and Stohr stepping down from leadership roles, and former studio director Eric Cesal becoming executive director. Around that time, Architecture for Humanity kicked off a $1.5M "Founders Fund" and released a five-year strategic plan, neither of which were enough to keep the organization above the red.
Architecture for Humanity tapped a network of over 75,000 design professionals across 60 local chapters, providing services like design, planning, and project management for over 240 projects worldwide, including rebuilding homes in post-Katrina New Orleans and earthquake-ravaged Haiti.
In 2008, the Cooper-Hewitt awarded Architecture for Humanity the Design Patron Award for "its commitment to bringing sustainable architecture to global communities in need." The organization also worked with the Sun Microsystems and Creative Commons to build the Open Architecture Network, an open-source design resource for humanitarian projects.
Public Architecture founder and president John Peterson told SF Gate that Architecture for Humanity has been "a major player at changing the conversation," and one needs only to look at Shigeru Ban's Pritzker win to see how much it has changed.
We've reached out to the board of Architecture for Humanity for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.