Architectural Outreach

Countless volunteer opportunities abound for architects, designers, and others interested in the built environment, ranging from disaster relief and recovery to community empowerment, restoration, and historic preservation. The following is a partial list of organizations, coalitions, and resources aimed at the coordination and operation of national and international volunteer programs that are focused on architecture, planning, design, and community development initiatives.

Adventures in Preservation

(formerly Heritage Conservation Network)
1557 North Street
Boulder, CO 80304
(303) 444-0128

Adventures in Preservation has become a leader in offering volunteer vacations directed toward saving distinctive architecture that defines a region’s history and culture. The fact that historic preservation is innately “green” provides yet another compelling reason for restoring historic buildings for integrated community use.

Architecture for Humanity

695 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 963-3511

Architecture for Humanity promotes architectural and design solutions to global, social, and humanitarian crises. Through competitions, workshops, educational forums, partnerships with aid organizations, and other activities, Architecture for Humanity creates opportunities for architects and designers from around the world to help communities in need.

Builders Without Borders

119 Kingston Main Street
Hillsboro, NM 88042
(510) 525-0525

With volunteers, including architects, engineers, contractors, and others in the AEC field, Builders Without Borders specializes in affordable housing, both domestically and abroad, emphasizing sustainable structures built with locally available materials. Generally, BWB provides technical assistance to improve designs.


777 Long Ridge Road
Stamford, CT 06902
(203) 961-5041

buildOn enhances education and empowers youth in the United States to make a positive difference in their communities while helping people of developing countries increase their self-reliance through education and the development of educational resources.

Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions

PO Box 388
Corning, NY 14830
(607) 962-7846

Caribbean Volunteer Expeditions is a non-profit agency dedicated to the preservation and documentation of the historical heritage of the Caribbean. Members and volunteers measure and document historical plantations, windmills, and other structures to help local Caribbean agencies keep a record of their architectural heritage. Professional assistance is appreciated.

Habitat for Humanity International

121 Habitat Street
Americus, GA 31709
(800) 422-4828

Habitat for Humanity International seeks to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Through volunteer labor and donations of money and materials, Habitat builds and rehabilitates simple, decent houses with the help of the homeowner (partner) families.

National Park Service

Volunteers-In-Parks Program
1849 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20240
(202) 208-3818

The Volunteers-In-Parks Program provides a vehicle through which the National Park Service can accept and utilize voluntary help and services from the public.

Open Architecture Network

Architecture for Humanity
695 Minna Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 963-3511

The Open Architecture Network is an online, open-source community dedicated to improving living conditions through innovative and sustainable design. Here designers of all persuasions can share their ideas, designs and plans; view and review designs posted by others; collaborate to address specific design challenges; manage design projects from concept to implementation; protect their intellectual property rights using the Creative Commons licensing system; and build a more sustainable future.

Peace Corps

1111 20th Street NW
Washington, DC 20526
(800) 424-8580

Peace Corps Volunteers serve in countries across the globe: Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, and the Middle East. Collaborating with local community members, volunteers work in such areas as education, youth outreach and community development, the environment, and information technology.

Public Architecture 1% Solution

1211 Folsom Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 861-8200

The 1% Solution program grew out of a realization that there are no formal mechanisms supporting or recognizing pro bono architectural work within the profession. The goal of the 1% Solution is to direct one percent of all architects’ working hours to matters of public interest, pro bono.

Rebuilding Together

1899 L Street NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036
(800) 473-4229

Rebuilding Together preserves and revitalizes houses and communities, assuring that low-income homeowners, from the elderly and disabled to families with children, live in warmth, safety, and independence. Its goal is to make a sustainable impact in partnership with the community.

Red Feather Development Group

PO Box 907
Bozeman, MT 59771
(406) 585-7188

Red Feather educates and empowers American Indian nations to create sustain- able solutions to the severe housing crisis within reservation communities. Red Feather teaches affordable, replicable, and sustainable approaches to home construction, working with volunteers alongside tribal members to build desperately needed homes.

Shelter For Life International

10201 Wayzata Boulevard, Suite 230
Minnetonka, MN 55305
(763) 253-4082

Shelter for Life International is a faith-based humanitarian organization that enables people affected by conflict and disaster to rebuild their communities and restore their lives through appropriate shelter and community development programs. Shelter for Life has occasional volunteer opportunities in project management, construction, community development, engineering, architecture, and cross-cultural relations.


c/o New York Foundation for the Arts
20 Jay Street, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(212) 366-6900

The goal of slowLab is to promote slowness as a positive catalyst of individual, socio-cultural, and environmental well-being. Current and future programs include public lectures, discussions and exhibitions, a dynamic online project observatory and communication portal, academic programs, and publishing projects.

Southface Energy Institute

241 Pine Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
(404) 872-3549

Southface promotes sustainable homes, workplaces, and communities through education, research, advocacy, and technical assistance.

World Shelters for Humanitarian Needs

550 South G Street, Suite 3
Arcata, CA 95521
(707) 822-6600

World Shelters designs, produces, and delivers temporary and permanent structures for both emergency response and long-term humanitarian needs.

Source: DesignIntelligence