Jill Fehrenbacher

DESIGN LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN!

by , 07/06/06

Design Like You Give A Damn, Architecture For Humanity, New Book, Cameron Sinclair, Humanitarian Design, Green Architecture, Social Architecture

Currently one in seven people in the world lives in a slum or refugee camp, and more than 3 billion people – nearly half the world’s population – do not have access to clean drinking water or adequate sanitation.

Yet, for the most part, the architecture profession has been more engaged with designing skyscrapers, concert halls and museums than with providing shelter to the masses of people who need it most. (And who can blame them, really? Everyone wants to be paid for their work, architects included.) Unfortunately, it has always been the case that the people who are in most desperate need of innovative architectural solutions are precisely those who can’t afford them.


Fed up by the lack of attention to this sorely underserved population, Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr founded the pioneering non-profit Architecture for Humanity in 1999. AFH set out to enlist the international design community to participate in collaborative, on-the-ground projects building shelters for refugees and victims of disaster around the world. Up until recently, AFH has been performing their inspiring acts of humanitarian architecture without much fanfare; but the days of under-the-radar heroism are gone. Architecture For Humanity has won a ton of awards this year – and now, to anthologize their work thus far, have just released their first book, Design Like You Give A Damn.

From the title to the very last word, the book is a rallying cry for rethinking humanitarian assistance and pursuing innovative solutions to contemporary housing crises. Design Like You Give A Damn reads like an encyclopedia of the best humanitarian architecture projects ever created, and one quick look begins to reveal the type of amazing innovations that are possible when designers start dealing with the fundamental concerns of human life.

The book covers AFH (and non AFH) projects from all over the world, ranging from South Africa to Indonesia, Iran to Grenada. But it’s not all focused on the developing world – rather it is simply about providing shelter to people who need it most. Recently, AFH has been working on post-hurricane rebuilds in Biloxi, Mississippi. Their mission is to empower members of these communities to become participants in the rebuilding of their homes, to take part in the planning, and to know how to maintain and enhance their shelters once external assistance has departed.

Inhabitat HIGHLY recommends Design Like You Give A Damn to anyone and everyone with an interest in design, architecture and the future of humanity.

Design Like You Give A Damn, Architecture For Humanity, New Book, Cameron Sinclair, Humanitarian Design, Green Architecture, Social Architecture

So now that you know you want it, you have two options for purchase: you can buy it from the Architecture For Humanity website and know that your money is going directly into funding the construction of shelters around the world; or if you are a broke student, you can purchase it from Amazon for slightly less, and know that you are contributing to the book’s success and legacy.

Cameron Sinclair will be doing a book launch this week at the Aspen Ideas Festival, where Inhabitat’s Managing Editor, Sarah Rich, is taking copious notes on the action. An interview with Cameron will follow some time next week, so stay tuned…

$35 from Architecture For Humanity
(proceeds go directly to AFH’s charitable work)

$22 from Amazon.com
(Proceeds go to getting the word out and making this book the huge success it should be.)

Design Like You Give A Damn, Architecture For Humanity, New Book, Cameron Sinclair, Humanitarian Design, Green Architecture, Social Architecture
One of our favorite projects featured in Design Like You Give a Damn, the Play-Pump is a beautiful example of innovative design, created in rural South Africa. Utility and childhood joie de vivre merge into an ingenuous solution for pumping water through the rotation of a merry-go-round.

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11 Comments

  1. Inhabitat » GREEN... November 27, 2007 at 1:18 pm

    [...] YOU GIVE A DAMN BOOK This groundbreaking book on humanitarian design from around the world is a must for ALL designers. Inspire the designer in your life and feel good about donating to a worthwhile cause while you are [...]

  2. Inhabitat » TOP 1... December 31, 2006 at 4:49 pm

    [...] 3. DESIGN LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN Architecture For Humanity’s book was hugely inspirational for many of us here at Inhabitat, reminding us that there are people out there who actually DO give a damn about sustainability and socially responsible design. [...]

  3. Inhabitat » HOLID... December 13, 2006 at 11:39 am

    [...] DESIGN LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN BOOK – $35 This groundbreaking book on humanitarian design from around the world is a must for ALL designers. Inspire the designer in your life and feel good about donating to a worthwhile cause while you are at it. All proceeds from the book go to funding Architecture For Humanity’s important work providing shelter in impoverished and disaster-relief areas. [...]

  4. Kimberly Ann Kubalek August 3, 2006 at 10:49 pm

    It is inspiring to see smart people using their talents for real, creative humanitarianism. The Play-pump is absolutely brilliant! I’m going to recommend this fabulous book to a client who is a bookseller. No doubt he’ll be interested in buying and perhaps even carrying and promoting it, too. Keep up the excellent work.

  5. Michael G. Richard July 10, 2006 at 10:38 pm

    Good timing, I’ve just (1 minute ago) ordered that book.

  6. Lynn July 10, 2006 at 5:19 pm

    I’m with Lorenzo II. That book could really be helpful in our country. Hopefully, local environmental architects can get their hands on this book. And that Play-Pump looks like fun! Getting water won’t seem like such a tedious activity anymore, thanks to this.

  7. Inhabitat » Blog ... July 7, 2006 at 5:34 am

    [...] We know you like Prefab Fridays, but many of you have been writing in recently to complain about the high costs of many of the prefabs we’ve featured lately. The burgeoning crop of chic modernist prefabs has been a double-edged sword. On one hand, it has helped to overcome the trailer-park stigma and proven that prefab housing can be stylish and well-designed (something we’ve known all along). At the same time, however, it has led to the growing association of prefab housing with vacation-home luxury that only the well-heeled can afford. On that note, we’d like to talk about truly low-cost prefabrication today — $500 prefab — the kind of housing that can shelter people suffering dire poverty or post-disaster homelessness. (We are feeling inspired by our recent forays into Design Like You Give A Damn). [...]

  8. Paavani July 7, 2006 at 5:33 am

    That’s a really good move toward shelter for all.

    http://www.alkadwivedi.net/graphics/bottle-boat.jpg
    And here go one more innovative design- boat made by using empty bottles of Coke.
    (In Mumbai, India because heavy rain life is total chaos)

    (*Clipping from July, 2006 Asian Age newspaper, photo credit- Alka.)

  9. Lorenzo II July 7, 2006 at 3:39 am

    I wish I could have that book here in the Philippines … to help my impoverished people. Sometimes getting ideas thru Internet is not enough. That book is not even available in our small local bookstore.

  10. Jill Fehrenbacher Jill July 6, 2006 at 8:34 pm

    I totally agree Nina! I often think the best ideas are born of real human necessity rather than convoluted concepts or academic theorizing. This book is really illustrative of how human necessity breeds great design.

  11. nina July 6, 2006 at 5:12 pm

    play pump! what a brilliant idea. just another reminder that the most fantastically inspiring ideas (for me, at least) are not necessarily, or even most often, those that are funded by deep pockets or bred by esoteric concept.

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