Eric John Cesal

Architecture for Humanity, school in Jacmel, Haiti.

Eric John Cesal, MArch/MBA08, MCM09

Eric John Cesal is a designer, writer, builder, and social advocate, with particular expertise in the area of post-disaster reconstruction.

After completing his undergraduate studies at Brown University, Cesal earned three master’s degrees—in Architecture, Business Administration, and Construction Management—from Washington University. During that time, he served as the Jerome J. and Suzanne M. Sincoff Scholar in the Sam Fox School and the Wood Leadership Fellow in the Olin Business School. Soon after graduation, he authored Down Detour Road: An Architect in Search of Practice, which sought to connect architecture’s economic misfortunes with its lack of socially minded programming.

After completing the book, Cesal moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, at the invitation of Architecture for Humanity to lead the organization’s response to the devastating earthquake of 2010. Over the course of two-and-a-half years, Cesal built an office of over 30 architects, engineers, and planners focused principally on school reconstruction in affected communities, eventually completing more than fifty schools and clinics throughout the country.

From there, Cesal continued his post-disaster practice with Architecture for Humanity, undertaking work in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami of 2011, in New York after Superstorm Sandy (2012), and in the Philippines after Typhoon Yolanda (2013). He took over as executive director of Architecture for Humanity in 2014, the same year the organization filed for bankruptcy.

Cesal lectures extensively both domestically and abroad on disaster reconstruction and resilience, and serves as a program advisor for the Clinton Global Initiative on issues of the built environment. He is a juror for both the Architizer A+Awards and the Curry Stone Design Prize, which honors designers who address critical social needs.