Screen Shot 2017-09-26 at 8.56.50 PM


Our Mission

Studio Unite cultivates sustainable economic and environmental growth through its focus on social impact in the areas of architecture, art and research. We are designers, architects and humanitarians developing innovative resilient solutions for sustainable living. We focus in the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

About Us

We are designers and architects developing innovative solutions for sustainable building. Together with local clients, construction professionals and artisans, we build upon our collective expertise so that all are empowered to participate in the long-term development of their communities.

How to Help

Support our work with a donation today! Your support is immensely important to us.  Studio Unite is a non-profit design collaborative working for the public good. However modest your donation, it enables us to carry on work in vulnerable communities across the globe.
Get one SolarPuff™ solar lantern for yourself to reduce your own carbon footprint and one SolarPuff™ for someone in need.


Click here to donate to Hurricane Irma and Maria victims and relief efforts

Our Mission

Studio Unite, formerly FAARM, cultivates social, economic and environmental growth through its Focus on Architecture, Art, Research and Making.

01_arial_rendering_hl_0_0Our purpose as a charitable organization is to develop sustainable design solutions for dwelling, education, and the environment in order to improve social, economic and ecological conditions for vulnerable communities around the world. Our primary activity will be to integrate design as a catalyst for creating long term design strategies and design solutions for local stake holders who are left vulnerable due to social and economic injustice, victims of natural disasters, and women and children in areas of extreme poverty. We will identify and serve as liaisons between local leaders, non-profits and community organizations, and both local and international for-profit businesses. To create a productive exchange of resources to facilitate the recovery and growth of communities in areas of need.

Formally known as FAARM, Focus on Architecture Art Research Making, doing business as Studio Unite, is a 501(c)3 registered tax-exempt organization in the state of New York.


Worldwide Studio Unite™ Give Locations



About Us

We are designers and architects developing innovative solutions for sustainable building. Together with local clients, construction professionals and artisans, we build upon our collective expertise so that all are empowered to participate in the long-term development of their communities.


Executive Director

Dr/Ambassador Alison Thompson is a full time global humanitarian volunteer. Her work started on the Sept 11th 2001 attacks in New York, where she volunteered as a first responder for nine months. Since then Alison has run refugee camps, field hospitals and resilience command center’s in every major disaster around the world for the past 17 years; including Haiti, Sri Lanka, Philipines, Nepal, USA, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia and the Syrian Refuges crisis. In 2005 she founded the first Tsunami Early-Warning Disaster Center in Sri Lanka along with a Children’s Learning Center and Tsunami Museum. In Sri Lanka Alison is fondly known as the “Angel of Galle” 

In 2012 Alison was appointed as the first official Ambassador to the Haitian Ministry of Environment where she works in reforestation, sustainable energy and cholera initiatives. Alison recently represented Haiti at the Cop 22 UN Climate change meetings in Marrakesh where she was successful in helping Haiti ratify the Paris Agreement. 

For the past 18 months, Alison has worked tirelessly throughout Greece and on the island of Lesvos, in the epicenter of the Syrian refugee Crisis, where millions have fled the war zones of Syria and Iraq. In Greece Alison works as a volunteer paramedic caring for refugees with hypothermia and war wounds and has developed a network of over 30,000 volunteers, through her organization Third Wave Volunteers, who support and coordinate direct aid for the refugees. Her mission is to bring love and light to the refugees and to be a voice for humanity for the suffering. Her latest program is bringing in an innovative origami designed solar puff light to the refugees in the dark camps of the Syrian borders. Alison has personally delivered over 15,000 lights to 80,000 refugees.

In 2010, Alison flew to Haiti along with actor Sean Penn and ten doctors to help after the earthquake. Together, they managed a 65,000-person IDP camp and field hospital alongside General Simeon Trombitas and the 82nd Airborne who later honored her with the US Commanders ‘Medal of Excellence’ award. Alison also co-founded We Advance, an organization dedicated to combating gender-based violence and advancing the health and safety of women and children throughout the Cite Soleil slums.

In 2010 she was awarded the’ ‘Order of Australia, the highest civilian medal given by the Australian government and Queen Elizabeth the 2nd, for her volunteerism and her contributions to mankind and in 2015 she was honored at Loyola Chicago University with an Honorary ‘Doctorate of Letters’, in the ‘Humanities’, where she also gave the commencement speech.

Her award-winning documentary The Third Wave, chronicles her volunteer experience in Sri Lanka after the 2004 tsunami and was screened at the 2008 Cannes film festival in a presidential jury screening presented by Sean Penn and Bono. She followed up with a book, The Third Wave A Volunteer Story.

With simplicity and humility, Thompson inspires everyone to service and to take action just as she has as an everyday, average individual. She tailors her message on how ‘anyone can volunteer’, from a global scope to our own backyards and that “everyone is needed”

Her motto is “It’s easy to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but its Leadership to be in the wrong place at the right time. “

Board Members

rickFredric King is a transmedia storyteller and social entrepreneur.  Fredric was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for STREETS OF LEGEND, he developed BLUE VALENTINE and launched the distribution arm of his company, fountainhead transmedia to spearhead the domestic and international sales of his cult film b.i.k.e.  When not not making movies or video games, Fredric is making concrete in Haiti to aid in the rebuilding efforts. While in production of HAITI REDUX, a documentary about the reconstruction efforts after the earthquake of January 12, 2010. Fredric recognized the significant potential impact of private sector investment in the construction material business in Haiti. In 2011 he conceived, formed and launched the haitian american reconstruction partnership (harp) to harness this potential to affect positive social change.

1418579559600Stacy Kelly is a Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Solight
Design ™. Stacy has the dual role of being responsible for managing the manufacturing and shipment of our products while also developing strategic business relationships. Solight Design ™ is Stacy’s third entrepreneurial venture.  She sold her first to American Health Magazine. In 2007, Stacy founded her second venture, Mobile Previews, a mash-up of mobile video streaming, SMS alerts, sharing and polling in one mobile application. In between start-ups Stacy worked as a publishers for some of the largest media companies in the world such as ABC, Disney, Reed Elsevier, Entrepreneur Media and Advanstar across a variety of markets and digital platforms, including: entertainment, toys and licensing  It was as publisher of Entrepreneur’s Business Start-Up that she realized that her real passion is in starting and helping new businesses find their markets and build out their sales and business development strategies. Stacy received her MBA from San Francisco State University and her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut.

EricEric Chan,  陳秉鵬

Eric Chan is the Founder and CEO of ECCO Design in New York City with years of international experience in product innovation, design and consultancy.   Eric formed ECCO Design, with a mission to bring a meta-culture philosophy to the highest level of consultancy, specializing in product strategy, identity and user experience.  Eric has since worked with clients in major consumer segment and industrial nation including Herman Miller, LG Electronics, Panasonic, Virgin, Toyota, MagicLeap, Samsung and Lenovo.

He is currently on the advisory board for the Climate Museum New York and NGO Sustainability, United Nation.  He is the President and Advisor board of The International Design Network Foundation ECCO creates multiple-award-winning design and product innovation.  He is an advisor to various government-organized design councils in different regions, including Japan, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.  

He recently established EccoX, exploring and pushing design integration with new technology from wearable to smart connected device.   EccoX supports the fast evolving technology cycle with fast prototyping and experience simulation to accelerate the innovation process for tech start-up and entrepreneur.  He is the advisor for a number of startup companies, Alpha Audio, Brainbit, Meural, Solight and Polar Generations.  He is also advisor to many startup for New York Angels Investor Group, and the RetailXcelerator.  Eric is an inventor with over 30 patents under his name.  He is the author of the popular “1,000 Product Designs: Form, Function, and Technology from Around the World.

Recent rated as the Top 10 Best Product Designer in New York.  ID Magazine named Chan among the 40 most influential designers in the US and Business Week hailed him as “One of the new breed of ingenious American designers that is making the world take note.”  Designs have been featured in museums and design excellence centers around the world including The Cooper-Hewitt and Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Eric received a Master of Design from Cranbrook Academy of Art from Michigan.  He also was graduated from Hong Kong PolyU. He has been invited to speak in many international Design conferences, and universities internationally including NYU, Parson, Tsinghua University, IDSA.

He has served as a juror for multiple International design competition including the Industrial Design Excellence Awards, if Awards, the CES Awards and Design For Asia Award

MaritzaMaritza Struyvenberg was the first Principal Registrar of the United Nations Office of Administration of Justice, a position she has held from July 2009 until her retirement in June 2014.  Previously, she served as the Executive Secretary of the former United Nations Administrative Tribunal for 10 years.  Ms. Struyvenberg started her career in the United Nations in 1981 in the Codification Division, Office of Legal Affairs.  Over the years, she held several other positions, including Deputy to the Director, Representation Unit, Executive Office of the Secretary-General; Political Affairs Officer, ECOSOC Affairs Branch, Department for General Assembly and Conference Management; and Alternate Secretary Joint Appeals Board/ Joint Disciplinary Committee.  She studied Public International Law at the State University of Leiden, the Netherlands, graduating in 1979. Thereafter, she attended the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and obtained a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy in May 1981.  She published articles on “Selected Revisions of the Statute of the UN Administrative Tribunal”, “International administrative law: due process in the justice system” and “The new United Nations system of administration of justice”.  Formerly she was a member of the Editorial Board of the Practitioners Journal “The Law and Practice of International Courts and Tribunals”.  She is currently an independent consultant specializing in workplace investigations.

Patricia ChavesPatricia Chaves is currently a Senior Sustainable Development Officer at the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development. Ms. Chaves has over 20 years of in-depth knowledge and experience in international policy development and policy making, having supported and guided meetings of intergovernmental bodies for a number of years. Presently, she is supporting the meetings of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the dedicated UN platform to follow up and review the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  Ms. Chaves has worked extensively in sustainable development issues at the national, regional and international levels. She has been exposed to the complexity of negotiations both in the public and private sectors giving her the valuable experience of addressing development issues as a negotiator, policy-maker and practitioner. She has also work on promoting and enhancing the use of partnerships among different stakeholders as one of the most participatory mechanisms to effectively implement sustainable development commitments.  Ms. Chaves has acquired valuable knowledge of the challenges faced by developing countries in the implementation of internationally agreed development goals and commitments as well as been deeply involved in the normative and operational work of the United Nations.  As a member of the UN Secretariat’s team servicing the Rio+20 Conference (Brazil – 2012), Ms. Chaves was instrumental in the conceptualization and organization of the Partnerships Forum at that Conference which is considered the largest conference ever convened by the United Nations.  Before joining the United Nations, Ms. Chaves was a career Foreign Service officer of the government of Costa Rica, serving as one of the key negotiators of that country on issues related to environment, finance, forests, macroeconomics and sustainable development at the Mission of Costa Rica to the United Nations, as part of the team chairing the Group of 77 and China and at UN Summits such as the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002.  Ms. Chaves was the Co-Director of the Costa Rica-Canada Initiative on Forests during its first year of establishment in 1999.  She has a Master’s Degree in Government with a focus on Economic Policy from Lehigh University.

mandeepDr. Singh leads a global enterprise engaged in services for private equity in healthcare, venture capital with focus on information technology, and specialty assets. Dr. Singh manages a New York-based Real Estate finance advisory boutique focused on alternatives – private equity & hedge funds. Mandeep has run a Cyber Security practice with clients from academia and the insurance sector. He started his career as faculty at Hofstra University. His academic background includes MIT, where the specialization was in REITS(Real Estate), St. Marys, Texas the specialization was in International Economics and Social Enterprise and a Master in Philosophy(M.Phil) from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi with thesis topic “Foreign Direct Investments & A Question of Sustainable Development”, Mandeep was awarded OECD scholarship. He received an MBA in Financial Strategy from The International Management Institute, New Delhi.

Mandeep has spent time playing professional Squash in USA, India and UK. He has trekked the Himalaya’s and to the base camp, he has also trekked the Aravalli’s. Mandeep has actively worked towards earthquake relief operations in India and recently with the Nepal earthquake. Mandeep speaks on a broad spectrum of topics and has written articles on sustainability & Geo-Politics.



Screen Shot 2017-08-31 at 11.41.44 PM

The effects of Hurricane Harvey has been devastating and left many people displaced.  If you would like to donate to the victims and relief efforts of Hurricane Harvey, please click here.

Give Lights



Hundreds of thousands of people lost their homes in the earthquake that occurred in April. Third Wave Volunteers and The Conscious Connections Foundation are helping to distribute lights to those in need.



Many Haitians are still recovering from the earthquake that occurred in January 2010.
The Reveil Matinal Orphanage lost its home and needs our help. Join WeAdvance in making a difference in Haiti.



A great flood of refugees continues to pour out of Turkey from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq. The tide shows little sign of stopping and Third Wave Volunteers are bringing relief to families and orphans fleeing to Lesbos, Greece.
—images by doug kuntz



The people of Santhiou Mam Gor are not lacking in love, rather in resources. Help support the lick-wilmerding high school and drew school in providing lights to west africa.



Help support Third Wave Volunteers‘s relief efforts in Ecuador after a recent earthquake kills over 500 people. Support aid workers on the ground today.
—Image by Luis Acosta



The Senase Project began to change from a focus solely on education to a realization that in order to truly help those children in Akatim, we need to focus on the community as a whole. We strive to help create healthy minds, healthy bodies and healthy hearts.



Yokadouma and Moloundou are rural villages in the Cameroon rainforest. Most people do not have access to electricity due to the rural environment.



Trinity Children’s Center sends aid directly to Liberia on an ongoing basis. The aid is distributed to various villages and organizations throughout the country. This includes items such as first aid, OTC medications, toiletries, clothes, shoes, books, sporting goods, and of course SolarPuffs.



Choose where to share the light!
We are a world of multiple cultures, colors, beliefs, ideas, and religions. We are born, needing the same sorts of things: water, food, love and Light.

NGO Partners


Ground Rules in Humanitarian Design

Location: NA, Publication
Client: Design community
Project Team: Alice Min Soo Chun, Irene Brisson, Maryline Damour
Start Date: Summer 2010
Publication: Winter 2012 Click Here to Purchase
Project Description:

This edited anthology provides a wide array of viable solutions to infrastructure, housing, economic growth, health care, and social welfare. Designers can no longer draw from insular practices, but must engage inclusive participation and tools as the binding glue for creating successful self-sustaining cultures and reducing world vulnerability. This book will facilitate the active role of design as a social response to vulnerability and risk, whether preparing a design for furniture or city, by providing guidelines as a vital first step is the development for action. These guidelines; often referred to as “ground rules” or “community norms,” will provide the design community a framework to ensure open, respectful dialogue and maximum participation as collateral for long term sustainability. The functional and beneficial out come of this book is the design and materialization of exemplar building communities emerging from these new paradigms for the future of global humanity. Using the recent earthquake in Haiti as a point of departure for our book, this publication will integrate research and documentation of the cultural history, social and political confluence, and ecological tensions that are systemic in regions where disaster, poverty, and crisis prevail.

Contact Studio Unite

Email us if you have questions or comments. We’d be happy to help. For press inquiries, please contact 


Fields marked with an * are required

Get News from Studio Unite

Sign up to stay up to date on the latest projects supported by Studio Unite.
We never share your email. (Check your junk mail on signup)