Architecture Sans Frontières International (ASF-Int) is an independent network of not for profit design organisations concerned with social justice, the cultural and environmental aspects of architecture and the conservation of the human and physical heritage aspects of the built environment.
The purpose of Architecture Sans Frontières is to enable vulnerable and marginalised communities access to architectural services, research, and educational resources in order to enhance their resilience and challenge inequality.
- Assist and encourage the establishment of new like minded, not for profit design organisations globally
- Support ASF member organisations through the international network
- Provide education and training with a specific focus on new forms of architectural practice relevant to international development and post disaster reconstruction
- Interface with other global organisations and events on behalf of the ASF-International community
ASF currently has 28 member organisations including representatives in Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.
The projects in the present ASF portfolio include many forms of producing change in the built environment, either through live projects, training & capacity building initiatives, or advocacy campaigns. Projects are often collaborations of design and planning professionals, community-based advocates, researchers, and policy-makers. Our activities range from the spatial design and construction of social facilities, to experimenting with local building techniques, low-impact materials, and energy-efficient design, to running participatory events and workshops, writing reports, and making exhibitions. Through these activities we address issues such as social inclusion, equitable urban development, the conservation of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, the construction of enabling environments for children, the provision of housing for refugees and displaced persons, the upgrading and transformation of informal settlements, and the improvement of civic participation.
The ASF member organizations pledge to work together at an international level in order to achieve a greater impact of their collective efforts to:
- Cooperate for fair and sustainable development initiatives in active collaboration with disadvantaged people or communities. This process shall follow principles of human solidarity, non- discrimination and will be aimed at promoting their self-sufficiency;
- Foster the socially responsible role of built environment professionals by stimulating social modes of practice before speculative economic profitability;
- Encourage ‘ethical professionalism’ by favouring cooperation and practice in hand with ‘ethical trade’, and with entities and financing institutions that work for peace-building processes;
- Identify, disseminate and work alongside public institutions, multilateral organisations and private sector’s policies, programmes and sustainable socio-economic systems fostering social equity and urban inclusion within the built environment;
- Facilitate the use of appropriate technologies, materials and labour adequate to local values, to the cultural specificity and responsive to the natural environment;
- Share knowledge, promote discussion, reflection and awareness, and collaborate in the advancement of the ‘social production of habitat’;
- Promote the facilitation of trans-national dialogues and long-term partnerships with and within the less affluent countries;
- Support participatory, democratic, multicultural and interdisciplinary processes and approaches in strengthening community solidarity as a factor of rural and urban social development;
- Endorse the integration of post-emergency relief interventions into long-term sustainable development strategies;
- Defend, promote and enable access to adequate and dignified habitat for all as a ‘Fundamental Human Right’.
ASF-Int was founded as a result of an increased interest in social and environmental issues in relation to the built environment, and dissatisfaction with ethical standards of mainstream architecture. It was first founded in 1979 by Pierree Allard in France, and for the past 36 years the organisation has developed and expanded to reach 4 continents so far with over 25 member organisations sharing the same ethos and guiding principles.