Working Together for 1,000 Cranes

by Brandon Osborne

On April 16th two of Boston’s creative groups, Architecture for Humanity and a group of talented musicians, teamed up for the good of others.  The 1,000 Cranes for Japan benefit was held at the Precinct in Somerville.  The musicians donated their time to entertain the audience while they built origami cranes.

Architecture for Humanity is a group of design professionals banded together to bring design, planning, construction and development services to communities in need.  Architects and designers in the Boston Chapter have come together to donate time in an effort to support the redevelopment of the areas in Japan devastated by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Why 1,000 Origami Cranes?

According to Japanese legend anyone dedicated enough to fold 1,000 cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.  In a collaboration with Students Rebuild,, musicians and architects came together to help reach the goal of building a total of 100,000 cranes.  These simple yet powerful gestures will trigger a $200,000 donation from the Bezos Family Foundation, $2 for each crane received, to Architecture for Humanity’s reconstruction efforts in Japan.  Once the goal of 100,000 cranes is reached, they will be woven into an art installation; a symbolic gift from students around the globe to Japanese youth.

Why This Cooperative Effort Works:

Cooperation between groups of people in society for the purpose of creating a better civilization is not a new idea.  As many of us know altruism is often looked at through a lens of skepticism even though it is present all around us.  When the Architecture for Humanity group and the musical world collaborate to provide pro bono services they are joining together to create a better civilization.  I happen to work for an architecture and engineering firm that recognizes the greater benefit of volunteerism and engaging with groups whose purpose is to do good for civilization.  As we join with other groups to provide base essentials to those in need we are also serving each other to fundamentally bring our altruistic evolution up another level.  By raising the bar in this fashion we as design professionals can achieve larger goals than would be possible as individuals.  Redevelopment of the devastated area in Japan will take time and money, however, with such groups like those participating in the 1,000 Cranes for Japan event; those two obstacles are slightly lessened.  If each one of us gives a little (time or money) we can all enjoy the benefits in a larger way.