Gallery: INTERVIEW: We Talk to Architecture for Humanity’s Co-Founder K...

Not only does Architecture for Humanity improve people's lives through architecture and design, but they have time to write books about it. Only six years after their first book comes Design Like You Give A Damn [2]: Building Change From the Ground Up, a second work which chronicles over 100 projects from around the world that address issues such as disaster reconstruction, shelter, education, and the basic needs of communities. Edited by the amazing team at Architecture for Humanity and published by Abrams, DLYGAD[2] goes more into detail about how each project came about and provides an informative source from which communities can learn to accomplish their own projects just the same. Recently we caught up with Kate Stohr, co-founder of Architecture for Humanity, to find out more about this second book and the things she learned while working on it. PLUS, we're giving away a copy, so read on to hear Kate's answers and learn how you can win a book of your own!

Inhabitat: What were you trying to accomplish with this second version of your book?

Kate Stohr: Well, things change with time and people do actually learn a thing or two. The first time we did the book, there really was no one place that had great precedent studies of community design. There were a lot of academic white paper type things, but nothing that connected great pictures of the project with what it cost and who built it. Since the first edition, I think there is now much more interest in the field and so there are some good resources out there to learn about projects. With the second edition of the book we were much more focused on how these projects come together. So, you’ll see a handy chart of financing structures in the front of the book and really in depth (if concise) looks at how some of these complex projects came together and who the stakeholders were on each. For example, we really didn’t focus on the beautiful design of the High Line project in New York City, which many people are familiar with at this point, but rather the complex roadmap of stakeholders needed to bring a project of that sort to life. We’re hoping that looking at the projects from this angle will help people replicate some of the success stories included in the book.

Inhabitat: It’s no surprise to us that you were able to find as many projects as you did, but what surprised you while compiling all the projects?

Kate Stohr: I was surprised by the number of spiritual and memorial spaces that came forward during the process. That wasn’t initially included as a section in our original table of contents. However, they were just so great. I think something about the last few years required places for contemplation. The fear after the 9/11 attacks, the wars in the Middle East, the on-going conflict in places like the Congo — this was not an easy few years. I think we forget about these sometimes very small spaces and how important they are to us and are understanding of our place in this constantly swirling, churning global world.


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