Author: Simone Swan
- Simone Swan has received recognition for initiating, funding, and managing a range of endeavors concerned with architectural and environmental concepts. Early in her career Simone established Withers Swan, a public relations agency in New York committed to public information on art, architecture, and the environment. Clients were museums and universities. She later served as founding director of the Menil Foundation where, beyond art endeavors, she initiated energy conservation and alternative energy programs. In the 1970s, Simone apprenticed to Hassan Fathy, renowned environmental architect and author of Architecture for the Poor and Natural Energy and Vernacular Architecture, inspired by his use of earthen materials and his interest in reviving indigenous building techniques for owner-built cooperative housing. In the late 1990s, Simone established the Adobe Alliance in the Big Bend area of West Texas in order to realize low-cost housing in the border region. After much local research on environmental climate and culture, she decided to target Presidio County, with a 37% unemployment rate. The Alliance has since constructed houses on both sides of the border that demonstrate the innovative use of earthen materials to create a new building standard for environmentally compatible, sustainable homes and communities.