Great architecture is about more than buildings – it changes communities and lives

Architects have the power to create change. Great architecture can change the experience of whole communities. It can even save lives. But not every architect gets to see the end result of what they do.

I recently visited Boma, Tanzania, and truly saw the end goal of great architectural design as I enjoyed a slice of birthday cake with the twins who love living in the special children’s village we designed for them. They’re growing up and thriving in a safe, supportive environment now, instead of an overcrowded orphanage. For them, for us and for our partners, it’s about much more than a building.

I am very lucky to work at an NGO whose architects see this every day. At Article 25, we design innovative solutions for schools, hospitals, clinics, children’s homes and houses in the Global South. These are the places where it’s often most challenging to build, and also the places where facilities are needed the most.

Although we are an NGO delivering buildings for other NGOs, we don’t provide budget solutions to keep costs down. Our designs need to be cutting-edge to meet the demands of the places they are built – whether that means off-grid, climate-resistant, or using seismic design, with sustainability at their heart. As a result, our projects have been shortlisted for several architectural and engineering awards.

Right now we are working on a college for 1,200 students in Niger, a country with the lowest literacy rate in the world, a hospital in Monserrat to replace the one destroyed by a volcanic eruption, and rebuilding 450 houses in Dominica which were flattened by a hurricane (with a more resilient design). When you work with these communities, the real impact of great architecture is obvious.

We even offer those in the network the chance to visit our sites and buildings – and more importantly, meet the people that use them.

Instead of cutting the quality, we secure pro-bono support from some of the world’s leading engineering firms to work with us on our projects. We also make use of a significant amount of pro-bono architectural support.

It’s not all about ESG and CSR, although being a member will certainly help firms to meet those commitments. It’s about the satisfaction of seeing architecture changing lives in the Global South, thanks to your company’s support.


See to find out how your firm could join More Than a Building.


‘More Than a Building’ is a worldwide network of architects, engineers, developers, contractors and others in the construction sector who want to see architecture making a difference. Our member firms give modest monthly or annual donations that help fund our projects, and gain access to training, networking events, secondment opportunities and positive PR and comms. This special relationship between us and our corporate partners offers a more balanced approach than the typical ‘one way’ fundraising. We offer a genuine value exchange, and help the businesses who help us. It’s a real win/win.

These partnerships have shown me how much those in the sector appreciate being able to use their skills to make a difference, or just being involved in something they are passionate about – great design changing lives.

That inspired us to develop a new partnership model called ‘More Than a Building’.

تحریریه مجله معماری و ساختمان آموس