Stacey McMahan, AIA, LEED AP, is residing in Port-au-Prince Haiti for a year serving as Sustainability Advisor and Design Fellow with Architecture for Humanity. The position is co-supported by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and US Green Building Council and is the first collaboration between the two organizations supporting a Design Fellow. In this role, she is stationed in Haiti with one main goal—teaching the locals how to build safe structures.
Stacey first traveled to the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince immediately following the 2010 earthquake. Once there, she and her team immediately recognized that in order to help the country rebuild, they first needed to teach the Haitian builders, contractors and even laypeople, that in order to minimize damage and save lives in the inevitable event of another natural disaster, safe building practices had to be learned. This includes everything from teaching the proper ratios at which cement must be mixed to how to lay a foundation and build from there.
Additionally, she and her team evaluate new projects, schools in particular, to ensure that before any building starts, the owners of the building have a clear cut plan for success – including where students will come from, what they will be taught and how they plan to fund the school and keep it open. This ensures that only the most serious and well-planned facilities are the ones to which resources and times are dedicated.
As part of the position, she participated at Greenbuild 2010 and the AIA Haiti Summit in New Orleans in January of this year. These opportunities provide her the opportunity to update other team members on progress in the country, as well as find new solutions to help the ongoing building process.
Prior to her work in Haiti, Stacey was a Principal and Shareholder at Koch Hazard Architects where she was their Green Studio Director and Project Administrator for the majority of LEED projects. She has also been responsible for two LEED Gold projects and two Platinum (certified) projects. She is the co-creator and was the Chair and Emcee of the Plain Green Conference from 2007-2010.
Stacey is also extremely active in a number of extracurricular green activities, including: startup committee board member for the USGBC South Dakota Organizing Group; co-creator chartreuse of Bright Green Research, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to researching and creating case studies around natural building materials and methods; been the founding board of directors chair for the creation of the Sioux Falls Green Project, a 501c3 non-profit created to educate and raise awareness about sustainability in Sioux Falls and region; and aided State of South Dakota in writing legislation requiring LEED Silver certification on state owned projects.
She is a 1989 graduate of Kansas State University, graduating cum laude with a five year professional degree in Architecture. After working for 2 years in California, Stacey and her husband Greg moved back to the Midwest, began a family and established a home in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Stacey’s personal blog detailing her time in Haiti is A Year in Haiti and you can learn more about the AIA’s efforts at its website.