10th Year Anniversary: Letter from Kris Wangsadiputra

In celebration of our tenth anniversary, Architecture for Humanity is embarking on a fundraising campaign to support our chapters, grow the Open Architecture Network and bring critical design services to more communities in need. With your support, we can harness the power of the last ten years to make an even greater impact in the next ten years. Join us.

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We’ve gathered a growing collection of letters from some of the many individuals and organizations who have helped give a voice to designing a more sustainable future. We will be featuring a new letter each month throughout the year.

Dear Architecture For Humanity,

I came across Architecture for Humanity through disaster relief work I was engaged in several years ago. I was working with Habitat for Humanity International on Habitat’s Asian tsunami recovery program. With a lack of resources in the disaster area, I needed an outside source to review our design to ensure that it was structurally sound. I got connected with Kate Stohr via email and Kate helped me to connect with an engineering firm that was happy to help us. Our disaster response team went to the engineering firm with a set of drawings that would later be adjusted time and time again to fit the local demand.

When I learned more about Architecture for Humanity, I was sold on the idea. Though I couldn’t immediately use Architecture for Humanity’s service for the tsunami project – Habitat had already started building while other NGOs and local government organizations were still clearing the debris – I could easily see a potential partnership between these two organizations.When I returned to the United States, I tried to maintain correspondence with Kate. With more than 1,500 Habitat affiliates based in different 1,500 different types of communities, Habitat constantly needs more house design plans. I usually distributed standard Habitat house plans to affiliates, but from time to time, we needed some special house plans. We started to work together with Architecture for Humanity in providing a house for a family of 12 in Georgia. It was part of a relocation project for Hurricane Katrina victims who decided to relocate from Gulf Coast. Since then, Habitat for Humanity International and Architecture for Humanity collaborated on additional projects, such as panelized house plans – enabling affiliates to build house panels during wintertime in a warehouse and assemble the house on site in the summer.

Being on the receiving end of this wonderful service, I can see why there is wide appreciation for Architecture for Humanity. There are so many nonprofit organizations that have to spend a large sum of money for designs. With Architecture for Humanity, these organizations have access to free, sustainable designs that can help to ease their budgets in order to use their funds and time to help more people. And these designs are not exclusively for people with substantial financial backing. Architecture for Humanity has become a bridge for communities to have an equal access to a better life.

I have always believed that knowledge is the key to success, so I am grateful that Architecture for Humanity has initiated such a meaningful knowledge-sharing operation of designs and innovations. The demand for Architecture for Humanity’s work is ample, and your innovations will make your work even more helpful in the future. I am excited to see your new ideas and projects, especially for more projects in disaster and poverty-affected areas all across the globe – projects that integrate local culture, new sustainable technology and the benefit of contemporary society to help people to have access to a better life.

It has been an honor working with you and I hope I can do even more to join your efforts in the future.

Kris Wangsadiputra Former Senior Manager of Building Systems and Design, Habitat for Humanity