At the annual invitation-only Technology Entertainment Design Conference last month, Architecture for Humanity founder Cameron Sinclair took center stage to launch the Open Architecture Prize. Its $250,000 purse, among the largest offered for architecture, will be awarded to the best design for a computer lab that will be built as part of the 50x15 Initiative. This effort, led by chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices, aims to provide Internet access to half the world’s population by 2015.
Sinclair’s announcement came just one day after he inaugurated another project with a similarly global reach: the Open Architecture Network, an open-source online space where architects and engineers can share their ideas with organizations and community leaders that are seeking design solutions for coping with the aftermath of natural disasters and political conflict. In addition to forging connections between socially responsible designers and worthy clients, the network allows creative colleagues to comment on one another’s ideas, along the lines of Web sites such as Wikipedia.