Eric J. Cesal is a designer, writer, and noted post-disaster expert, having led on-the-ground reconstruction programs after the Haiti earthquake, the Great East Japan Tsunami, and Superstorm Sandy. Cesal’s formal training is as an architect, with international development, economics and foreign policy among his areas of expertise.
Cesal has been called “Architecture’s First Responder” by The Daily Beast for his work leading Architecture for Humanity’s post-disaster programs from 2010 to 2014. He has been interviewed widely on the subjects of disaster and resilience by publications such as The New Yorker, Architectural Record, Architect Magazine, Foreign Policy Magazine and Monocle. He has served as a juror for various design awards and frequently lectures globally on disaster reconstruction and resilience.
Cesal is also widely known for his book, “Down Detour Road, An Architect in Search of Practice” (MIT Press, 2010) which sought to connect architecture’s chronic economic misfortunes with it’s failure to prioritize urgent social issues. Cesal is currently working on a new book about how foreign and economic policies of the developed nations incite and aggravate the conditions that lead to catastrophic disasters.
Cesal holds advanced degrees in Architecture and Construction Management, as well as an M.B.A. from Washington University in St. Louis., where he was both a Howard and Joyce Wood Fellow as well as the recipient of the Jerome Sincoff Scholarship. He is currently the Director of Sustainable Environmental Design as well as a visiting lecturer at University of California, Berkeley where he conducts studios and seminars on contemporary issues in Disaster & Resilience. He also serves as the Special Projects Director for the Curry Stone Foundation, a U.S. non-profit which seeks to support and empower community-driven social impact design. There, he was the longtime host of Social Design Insights, a podcast with the leading voices of the public interest design movement.