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. He currently works as the Special Projects Director for the Curry Stone Design Prize, an annual prize awarded each year to honor innovative projects that use design to address pressing social justice issues. There, he also co-hosts Social Design Insights, a weekly podcast with the leading voices of the Social Design movement.