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Architecture for Humanity Rebrands, Becomes Open Architecture Collaborative

Famous design nonprofit reborn with new name, logo

The non-profit group once known as Architecture for Humanity, which brought increased awareness to humanitarian design projects, has rebranded, now taking the name Open Architecture Collaborative. After the overarching organization declared bankruptcy in January 2015, different local chapters have banded together to figure out a new structure and identity, recently uniting under the temporary title the Chapter Network in January 2016. At that point, former volunteer and long-time network organizer Garrett Jacobs was named executive director. He’s since helped oversee the rebranding effort, which the group just announced this morning.

“The mission of equitable professional service first brought us together, and the power of its impact and ongoing need has kept us driven,” said Jacobs in a statement. “Now, the 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 demands. I very much look forward to what we will do together in the months ahead.”

Now an international, 30-chapter organization based on grounds-up governance, the group has two main pillars,offering more hands-on community experience for young professionals and providing design services for marginalized communities with limited access.

As Jacobs told Curbed earlier this year, it’s important to impart an entrepreneurial spirit to young architects. The organization’s by-laws, which are still being finalized, are, according to the group’s statement, meant to preserve the autonomy of local chapters, with the national organization offering oversight, advice, and resources.

“Many people graduate and go to work as an architect and don't know how to be entrepreneurial,” he says. “They don't understand how to form partnerships, grow local businesses, and act as a community organizer and translator for how things get built in this world."