Architecture for Humanity and Alcoa Foundation have come together to support the realization of community-based projects that explore innovations in design, materials and building systems. This cross-sector collaboration between Alcoa, Alcoa Foundation, Architecture for Humanity and seven universities in five countries will work to educate the next generation of architects, engineers and material designers while supporting real-world design-build projects that positively impact both the environment and the local community. 

Pillars of Sustainable Education highlights four areas of focus for grant recipients: Education, Sustainable and Integrated Design; Actionable Solutions; and Community Impact. Each university is integrating curriculum on the uses of sustainable materials in building systems and partnering with a local nonprofit organization to take their lessons in material innovation and apply them to real-world projects. The program will assist in sharing research, applications and materials across both professional and academic channels and ultimately, support the realization of real-world community-based projects.


Innovative cutting-edge research, cross-disciplinary teams and applied practice will engage and enhance the learning experience for students and emerging professionals. Investigations and best practice case studies will be shared through virtual platforms, in publications and at peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing events.

Sustainable Design

A focus on integrated human and environmental systems in the design process will reveal the impact of sustainable materials on our ecology and health. Designs will also consider other components including building life cycle, adaptability to future programming needs and economic viability to allow for truly integrated sustainable solutions.

Community Impact

Community-based projects will connect students and real-world beneficiaries in tangible and meaningful ways. Active stakeholder engagement will result in sustainable design and building materials that address the needs and aspirations of everyday users and community members helping to ensure long-term stewardship of the project and the environment.

Actionable Solutions

Sharing program results and design solutions with other academics and practitioners will increase the impact of program research, applications, and innovations leading to new strategies that will be tested and developed through implementation of pilot projects and wide-scale adoption in the field.