For the better part of a decade British-born, San Francisco–based Cameron Sinclair has been shaking up the design world with his nonprofit Architecture for Humanity. In addition to building a global network of designers who will go into areas of need at a moment’s notice, he’s creating a portal for “open source architecture,” where the designs can be used for free—by anyone.
It’s an idea that runs counter to notions of celebrity architects and trophy buildings, but Sinclair believes access to quality design can effect real change in developing regions, especially in the aftermath of floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes. Sinclair secures relief funds and organizes teams to rebuild areas at little or no cost to residents. He built dozens of sustainable designs in New Orleans and Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina.
Sinclair says he’s seen a rise in the number of architects who want to help. “There is a younger generation who are saying they don’t want to be celebrities and build for one percent of the world’s population,” says Sinclair. “They want to do something that makes a real difference.”
Set to open this fall, the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, Qatar, designed by I. M. Pei, is the first in a handful of museum projects the small oil- and gas-rich nation is building to establish itself as a cultural destination. It offers a taste of things to come in the region, especially in Abu Dhabi, which is planning an enormous cultural complex designed by international celebrity architects.