"Canceling ALL SXSW parties to launch #SXSW4JP tomorrow." That was Cameron Sinclair's Saturday night announcement, via Twitter. He's expected to announce the details of Architecture for Humanity's Sendai earthquake reconstruction plan Sunday afternoon from the stage during his South by Southwest keynote.
"Architecture for Humanity makes it a policy that we do not go anywhere without being asked," Sinclair wrote on his website. "Within hours of the disaster we were approached by a number of Japanese groups for our services. We are looking at implementing a 10 phase approach."
Since Sinclair, a 2006 TED Prize winner, founded Architecture for Humanity in 1999, the nonprofit design-build firm has been part of disaster-rebuilding efforts in Haiti, Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, Chile, and post-Katrina Mississippi. They call their approach "urban acupuncture"—designing and overseeing construction of homes, schools, clinics, and community centers in collaboration with community members, in hopes that a quality structure will have a ripple effect throughout a neighborhood. They also open-source their plans, down to the CAD files, through the Open Architecture Network.
The scope of the plans in Japan will be determined by how much money Architecture for Humanity can raise, from design and engineering services through full financing and oversight of construction. Their initial target is $200,000, and Nike is already listed as a sponsor on the organization's website.
Architecture for Humanity is also among the organizations using the hashtag #honyaquake on Twitter for news and important information for quake survivors. There is a volunteer translation effort underway for foreign nationals who may be affected by the quake and need information in English.