Architecture for Humanity – Social Architecture

Talking about sustainable architecture is not only about materials, technology, and principles. We have to see what’s beyond those kinds of architecture – the people. Of course there have always been them who moved community or even the world by their action. They are the models for us to understand better about sustainable architecture.

Cameron Sinclair

Cameron Sinclair is the man beyond Architecture for Humanity (AFH). This organization – as he said – is an organization that moves in developing community, tackle social problem such as sanitation and water! How would that possible? Or maybe we should ask ourselves, why would we say such thing is impossible?

What Cameron Sinclair does is help the social development through the way of building physical needs. In this case, it is architecture of a building. Although this kind of action have been done in many countries through many NGOs, but few is professionally managed. Many of the projects are not taking much concern on the design. They are built and stand up structurally, but they are not a good design to look at.

Architecture for Humanity does different. Cameron Sinclair said that even the projects is doing social architecture, it doesn’t mean that design is not a deal. Community as he said will respect a good design. The impact is they will take care of the building more. They will proud to have a good building as their part of communities.

This is one of their projects in Tanzania

Social Architecture

Social architecture, as he distinguish from star architecture (the popular architects work such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies Van de Rohe), should be understood as humanitarian work and sustainability. We are not in the modern era, where people celebrate the use of technology. In this era, sustainability issue is solved not only through the technical matters but also through social and cultural approach.

Sustainable architecture is not just green but socially acceptable.

As what we learn from the death of Modern Architecture, Architecture is not an individual who enclave itself from the environment. Architecture should get its way back to its nature. It is the way for human to fulfill his need to deal himself with the nature. So architecture must be humble, both to human (social) and to nature (environment). That’s the point of sustainable architecture.

Image Credits and Writing References

You can learn more abour Architecture for Humanity at

Read FuturArc interview with Cameron Sinclair at FuturArc 2nd Quarter 2012 Volume 25

Cameron Sinclair image is a property of Wikimedia Commons.


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