Building for Social Change


Introduction: Building for Social Change
For this special section, Record combed the globe, hunting for goodwill buildings that have both pragmatic and aesthetic appeal. The exemplary work featured here is a mere sample of our findings. Designed by a diverse roster of architects, and varying in scope and program, these projects embody the power of architecture to foster social change.

Photo © Iwan Baan

Latin America

Latin America
Six projects highlight architecture’s role in galvanizing communities, in particular through centers for learning.

Image courtesy G Ateliers Architecture


To activate change, new architecture is engaging local people in activities such as sports, entertainment, learning, and building.

Photo © Julian Abrams

United States

United States
Professional architects and design students are bringing inventive strategies to communities as diverse as L.A.’s Skid Row, rural Alabama, and a Navajo reservation.

Photo © Tim Griffith



Haiti Post-Disaster
Architects are making slow but steady progress in this troubled Caribbean nation, over two years after a deadly earthquake leveled countless buildings and left more than a million homeless.

Photo © Aric Mei


Japan Post-Disaster
One year after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami, Japan is making progress toward rebuilding its devastated east coast, assisted by local architects and construction professionals eager to help—but there is still a long way to go.

Photo courtesy Yasushi Takeuchi


Humanitarian Design News
Read Record’s latest stories about building for good and activist architecture.

Photo © Rob Pyatt

Building Types Study: Centers for Social Change
We look at seven projects for nonprofits, foundations, and other organizations doing good.

Photo © Michael Moran / OTTO

Mass Design Group

Does “Doing Good” Pay the Bills?
Architects devoted to humanitarian work are finding ways to make ends meet.

Photo © Architectural Record / Jenna M. McKnight

Star Apartments

Activist Exhibitions Overcome Display Difficulties
In placing an emphasis on socially and environmentally conscious subjects, two New York museums must address the challenges of presentation.

Image courtesy Zago Architecture

Star Apartments

House of the Month: Yangliu Village Housing
Taiwanese architect and 2011 Curry Stone Prize winner Hsieh Ying-Chun helps a Chinese Village rebuild for the better after an earth quake, using local expertise and materials.

Photo courtesy Nien Cheng/Atelier-3

Star Apartments

Continuing Education: Off the Map
Geographic information systems put data in the hands of designers, relief agencies, and policy-makers, helping them plot recovery efforts, anticipate the effects of climate change, and create more livable urban environments.


Illustration by Paul Farrington

Humanitarian Products
Product designs that improve the health, safety, and dignity of those in need, including a shelter concept that easily adapts to its environment.

Photo courtesy Molo Design

Forest of Hope

Snapshot: Forest of Hope
Giancarlo Mazzanti designs a modular system to shade a play area in an underserved district just outside of Bogotá.

Photo courtesy El Equipo de Mazzanti / © Jorge Gamboa

BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2010

Book Review
BSI Swiss Architectural Award 2010
Edited by Nicola Navone. Silvana Editoriale and Mendrisio Academy Press, 2010, 196 pages, $54

Reviewed by Jenna M. McKnight

Beyond Shelter: Architecture and Human Dignity

Book Review
Beyond Shelter: Architecture and Human Dignity
Edited by Marie J. Aquilino. Metropolis Books, 2011, 303 pages, $35

Reviewed by Laura Raskin

Design Like You Give a Damn [2]: Building Change from the Ground Up

Book Review
Design Like You Give a Damn [2]: Building Change from the Ground Up
Edited by Architecture for Humanity (Deborah Aaronson). Abrams, 2012, 336 pages, $25

Reviewed by Laura Raskin

Cathleen McGuigan

Architecture for Everyone
Can public-interest design become a viable alternative to traditional practice?

Photo © Michel Arnaud

The Good List: Resources for Humanitarian Design
Interest among architects in socially conscious work has surged in the past decade. Here, we provide an exclusive roundup of resources related to humanitarian design, from nonprofit organizations to fellowship opportunities.

Photo © Tommy Stewart

Forest of Hope

Humanitarian Design
Read Record’s past coverage of everything from disaster relief to projects for underserved communities and more.

Photo © Ricky Ridecos

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