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Architecture for Humanity Selected as Design Patron Award Winner in Cooper-Hewitt’s Ninth Annual National Design Awards

August 11, 2008

Architecture for Humanity has been selected the winner of the Design Patron Award for the 2008 National Design Awards by Paul Warwick Thompson, director of the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Architecture for Humanity is being recognized for its commitment to bringing sustainable architecture to global communities in need.

The Design Patron Award, which recognizes outstanding support and patronage within the design community, was created by Thompson in 2001 as one of the National Design Awards. The annual Awards honor excellence and achievement in 10 categories across various disciplines, including architecture, communication, fashion, interior, landscape and product design.

Unlike other National Design Awards, which are selected by a jury of leading figures in design, the Design Patron Award winner is chosen by Thompson. Architecture for Humanity joins previous winners Maharam, a 4th generation, family-run textile company; Craig Robins, a Miami-based real estate developer; Richard M. Daley, mayor of Chicago; Amanda M. Burden, the chair of the New York City Planning Commission; and hotelier André Balazs, among others. Architecture for Humanity will be officially honored, along with all of the 2008 National Design Award winners, at an Oct. 23 gala dinner at Cooper-Hewitt. “Since 1999, Architecture for Humanity has grown into an international, ‘open-source’ community for innovative design on a global scale,” said Thompson. “Whether housing tsunami refugees in Sri Lanka, providing homes for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina or building schools for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS in Uganda, Architecture for Humanity has demonstrated that good design can indeed change the world.”

Co-founded by Cameron Sinclair and Kate Stohr, Architecture for Humanity uses design to build sustainable futures. Embracing the motto “Design Like You Give a Damn,” Architecture for Humanity connects those affected by global, social and humanitarian crises with a vast, international network of over 4,000 architecture and construction professionals who provide pro bono design services to communities around the world and build essential structures such as housing, clinics and schools. Currently working in 26 countries on projects ranging from health centers in sub-Saharan Africa and community centers in Southeast Asia to low-income housing on the Gulf Coast of the United States, the organization is dedicated to enabling not only professional architects, but also community leaders, nonprofits, educators, healthcare workers and others to use architecture to improve lives. In 2007, Sinclair and Stohr launched the Open Architecture Network, a collaborative, online open-source community dedicated to improving living conditions through access to an archive of innovative and sustainable design plans. Architecture for Humanity was also featured in Cooper-Hewitt’s 2006 “National Design Triennial” and “Design for the Other 90%” exhibitions.

National Design Week and the National Design Awards are sponsored by Target.

About the National Design Awards
First launched at the White House as a project of the White House Millennium Council, the awards were established to broaden awareness of the role of design in daily life by honoring individuals in all areas of design, as well as its patrons and supporters. The National Design Awards are accompanied each year by a variety of public education programs, including lectures, roundtable discussions and workshops. To learn more about the National Design Awards and for a complete list of 2008 winners, please visit www.cooperhewitt.org.

National Design Week
Further broadening the scope of the Awards program, Cooper-Hewitt will hold the third annual National Design Week from Oct. 19 through 25. Throughout the week, the museum will offer free admission for all visitors; host a series of programs for the public, students and teachers; and celebrate design on its Web site with initiatives such as the People’s Design Award, which gives the general public an opportunity to nominate and vote for a design from Sept. 22 through Oct. 21 by logging onto www.cooperhewitt.org.

About Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum
The Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum is the only museum in the nation devoted exclusively to historic and contemporary design. The museum presents compelling perspectives on the impact of design on daily life through active educational programs, exhibitions and publications. Founded in 1897 by Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt—granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper—as part of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the museum has been a branch of the Smithsonian since 1967.

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SI-362-2008

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Irene Kopitov
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