WASHINGTON – One month after the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced the search for the Architecture for Humanity (AFH) Sustainable Design Fellow to lead AFH’s sustainable rebuilding efforts in Haiti, Stacey McMahan, AIA, LEED AP, has been appointed to the fellowship.
McMahan will work directly with community members on the ground in Architecture for Humanity’s Rebuilding Center based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
USGBC, AIA and AFH recognize that this crisis presents an unprecedented opportunity to learn from the reconstruction work and improve disaster responses elsewhere in the world and here in the United States. McMahan’s work on the ground in Haiti will be vital to future education on how sustainability after a disaster can be achieved.
“Sustainability needs a strong voice in Haiti’s reconstruction,” says Eric Cesal, regional program manager for Architecture for Humanity in Haiti. “Faced with urgent needs on the ground, there is always a temptation to do it fast, instead of doing it right. We expect McMahan will help us do both.”
As a partner/principal at Koch Hazard Architects, McMahan is the Green Studio director and has worked intimately with the firm’s entire LEED project portfolio. McMahan is passionate about sustainable design, as she finds fulfillment in utilizing her skills to help others. Through the Sustainable Design Fellow program, McMahan will be working collaboratively with a team of design and construction professionals, countless volunteers and leaders of the local government to ensure that the reconstruction is based upon the key principles of green building, including high performance, structural integrity, higher energy and water efficiency, and better ventilation quality for occupants.
“Out of this horrific disaster should come improved building practices, strengthened building codes, and stronger, safer buildings that also address green building and sustainable planning,” says Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “Without a doubt, Stacey McMahan will put to practice her knowledge of LEED and sustainable design principles, as well as her passion for helping others toward making these new buildings safer and more durable for the people of Haiti.”
Chief among McMahan’s responsibilities will be to provide tools and training for safe and sustainable construction both to the informal trades and by increasing local professional capacity through training and assistance as a path to mitigating similar building failures in the future.
“Witnessing the incredible devastation in Port-au-Prince, it’s only natural that hope is a rare amenity among the citizens of Haiti. The timing in my life was right to take advantage of this incredible opportunity to use my skills and experience for the good of others, and in that respect I also became aware that it was not enough to remain a bystander,” said McMahan. “So with the blessings of my husband and business partners, I’m diving into an adventure of a lifetime. My year there may be short or long, but I plan to use this opportunity to meet a lot of people, make many connections, and do what I can in furthering the idea and practice of building with sustainable strategies in urban Haiti. My experience with LEED has transformed the way I look at buildings and the process of building—it is an incredible tool.”
According to a February 4, 2010 brief by the United Nations, the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that ravaged Haiti in January of this year killed up to 300,000 people and destroyed more than 250,000 homes and 30,000 commercial buildings. The United Nations estimates that more than 1 million people are in urgent need of shelter/infrastructure, and has referred to the situation in Port‐au‐Prince as “perhaps the world’s largest urban humanitarian crisis.”
“Stacey brings the best the architecture profession has to offer to this new assignment,” says AIA president George Miller, FAIA. “Her talent, skill and compassion, combined with her intense dedication to the design process, will help the people of Haiti rebuild their nation in a way that prevents a tragedy of this magnitude from ever happening again.”
To learn more about the U.S. Green Building Council and the American Institute of Architects-sponsored Sustainable Design Fellowship with Architecture for Humanity, visit http://architectureforhumanity.org/get_involved/volunteer.
About the U.S. Green Building Council
The USGBC community is transforming the way we build, design and operate our buildings for healthier places that save precious resources for people to live, work, learn and play in. UGSBC is helping create buildings and communities that regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Council is the driving force of the green building industry, which is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product by 2013. USGBC leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials, concerned citizens, teachers, and students. The USGBC community comprises 80 local chapters, 17,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 150,000 individuals who have earned LEED Professional Credentials. Visit www.usgbc.org for more information.
About American Institute of Architects
For more than 150 years, members of the American Institute of Architects has worked with each other and their communities to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings and cityscapes. By using sustainable design practices, materials, and techniques, AIA architects are uniquely poised to provide the leadership and guidance needed to provide solutions to address climate change. AIA architects walk the walk on sustainable design. Visit www.aia.org to learn more.
About Architecture for Humanity
Architecture for Humanity is a nonprofit design services firm founded in 1999. We are building a more sustainable future through the power of professional design. By tapping a network of more than 40,000 professionals willing to lend time and expertise to help those who would not otherwise be able to afford their services, we bring design, construction and development services where they are most critically needed. To learn more, visit http://architectureforhumanity.org.
To learn more about Architecture for Humanity’s rebuilding efforts in Haiti, visit http://openarchitecturenetwork.org/projects/haiti_reconstruction.
To learn more about Architecture for Humanity’s Design Fellowship Program, visit http://architectureforhumanity.org/getinvolved/designfellowship.