Many of today’s young architects care deeply about rebuilding for distressed populations in third-world countries. John Ullman—an architect who is also president of the nonprofit he founded, Architecture for Tibet—exemplifies that. A reception at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City last night celebrated his aspirations and accomplishments. He was raising money for the Manjushree Orphanage and Free School in Tawang, India, specifically trying to fund an academic center that is in planning. (Read more about the project in our August 2009 news story.)

About 250 people showed up, many of Tibetan heritage in traditional chuba and other Tibetan attire. A silent auction, a musical performance by Tibetan singer Yungchen Lhamo, and guided tours of the Rubin’s enchanted galleries of mostly Tibetan Buddhist art (which occupy several floors of the former women’s department of Barney’s) were part of the festivities. Robert Thurman, noted Buddhist scholar (and father to Uma Thurman) and Lobsang Nyandak, representative to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and others spoke.

Focused on the well-being and education of Tibetan children, Architecture for Tibet's current project is an academic center for the Manjushree Orphanage in Tawang, Arucnachal Pradesh, in the high Himalaya of northeast India. The new, light-filled building will replace an existing schoolhouse, which is falling apart and not large enough to accommodate the children. The proposed two-story building will contain not only classrooms, but a library, a multipurpose room, a computer and language lab, and a nursery for the youngest children. Sustainably built, the facility will use a combination of geothermal and solar-based technologies to regulate indoor temperatures. For more information or to make a donation, see

blog post photo