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Architecture for Humanity files for bankruptcy

Architecture for Humanity (AFH) is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection. The San Francisco–based, non-profit organisation specialises in humanitarian and disaster relief architecture.

The news, which broke January 16 in the San Francisco Chronicle, came as a surprise to many in the architecture field, including Cameron Sinclair who founded AFH in 1999.

According to an interview with Architecture for Humanity board president Matthew Charney in The New York Times, the organisation "ultimately lacked the funding to continue."

Clark Manus, FAIA, a board member since mid-2012 said: "The economics of AFH just weren’t sustainable. And the board didn’t really have any option. It tried for more than three years to figure out what those options were and worked on a variety of things — reducing costs, selling assets, re-gearing fundraising efforts — but it just wasn't going to be."

Despite the non-profit organisation closing, Sinclair argues that its work will continue through its 59 chapters spread across nearly 20 countries. Both Sinclair and Manus point to the work of groups like MASS Design Group and Public Architecture for their emphasis on humanitarian and pro bono design work as being part of a broader movement within the profession. It is one they both hope will continue.

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