What is an Architecture Brigade?
The mission of Architecture Brigades is to collaborate with rural
communities, providing them with sustainable designs and
construction plans aimed at enhancing community member's
health, economic production, and quality-of-life. Architecture
Brigades provide students with the opprtunity to design and/or
construct small-scale in-home infrastructural projects such as
chicken coops, roofs, and additional rooms that are practical
and will be used on a daily basis. Prior to the first brigades, the
architecture team assesses community interest and selects a
viable community for future projects. Alliances are then forged
with the local government, as their support helps to procure
local materials and facilitate brigades.
Designing the Structure
Projects are both designed and built by student volunteers.
On the initial Design Brigades, student volunteers consult with
community members and draft blueprints for the in-home
infrastructure and economic improvement projects sought by
the family. Students on Design Brigades will work to create
sustainable structures that will improve the families' living
conditions or potentially increase the families' income. Their
designs will utilize appropriate technology and local materials
that minimize costs and maximize impact. Once the families
approve the design, the community is ready for their first
Architecture Brigade to start construction!
Chapters Can Also Just Participate in the Construction
Student volunteers on Build Brigades subsequently construct the projects alongside skilled Hondu
ran masons and community members, ultimately creating the in-home infrastructure needed to improve both the health and quality-of-life. The participation of all Architecture chapters provides the funding and labor needed to complete the project. Construction can take anywhere from a few days to up to a few months, depending on the size of the project and the number of Architecture Brigades that support the project by supplying funding, labor, educational workshops, and more.
Volunteers work side-by-side with community members as well as with our Honduran project technicians in all aspects of construction, while learning about its design and long-term sustainability. No experience necessary!
Brigade Length & Logistics
In Honduras, Architecture Brigades are for 7-10 days. Interested Architecture Chapters will work with a Global Brigades Chapter Advisor to select their brigade dates and book their airfare through Global Brigades' travel parteners. Each Chapter then fundraises for their program contribution and airfare. Upon arrival in Honduras, Global Brigades staff pickup students from the airport and transport them to a safe and secure lodging facility where they will be staying throughout the duration of the brigade. Each day volunteers and staff commute to and from the community to work on the construction site, consult with community members, and provide educational workshops. All meals, in-country transportation, coordinators, translators, and building materials are provided during the brigade.
Philadelphia University, United States
"What I take out of this experience is that I really want to do this type of work as a professional. I already kind of had that in mind before coming on the trip. I changed my major from Architecture to Construction Management because I wanted to work more with people and the process of making projects happen. I want to create projects in underdeveloped countries. Now after Honduras I want to do that more than ever. When I go back to school I want our Architecture Global Brigade to fundraise so we can all go back with our partner school in Illinois and new members.
Going to Honduras gave me a fulfilling feeling for being able to help others even if it was a little bit and enjoy doing it even though it was hard work and not lodging like at home. I think all youth should do volunteer service like this because it makes you selfless from an early age and I believe the youth has a bigger impact on the world towards the older generation because it shows that we want to make the world a better place from a young age and NOW! Also it makes us aware of what is going on around us and not just in the perimeters of our home or city. This makes us more diverse and understanding of other cultures."
University of Texas at Austin, United States
"I am the founder and president of the Global Architecture Brigades chapter at the University of Texas at Austin. I’m graduating with a degree in architecture this May, and I am so thankful that GAB has become such a huge factor in my life. My most memorable brigade experience was arriving on site at Santa Rosa this January and being confronted with our building truly taking shape. We had left construction at a stage barely above ground just one year ago! I can’t imagine what my time at school would have been like without being involved in this organization that has given my education such a purpose. I believe that these competition and brigade experiences have influenced and forced me to become a better and more sensitive designer, and I know that I will carry these notions with me throughout my career or further education, wherever I end up!"