2011 haiti_utk publication

One to Another

A Downloadable Publication from the 2011 Haiti UTK Studio


WBIR Report of the Haiti Studio

Introduction haiti_utk

Welcome to the Haiti UTK site! The work on these pages reflects student engagement in design for both a school and housing for the community of Fonds des Bloncs, Haiti in collaboration with the Haiti Christian Development Fund. The project was initiated in the early fall of 2010 and subsequently a class of 19 students, in the spring of 2011, was given the responsibility of deisgning a secondary school. The school is under constuction. A new group of students is now hard at work developing new housing in Fonds des Blancs. The work of these students can be seen in the pages of this blog. Students of the class will be traveling to Haiti Februay 2-6 to collect addiional data. It is anticipated that this second phase of the project will be completed in late April with construction starting summer 2012. The work of the students is being guided by three primary faculty, John McRae, David Matthews, and Chris King, a local practictioner. The students during their exploration will engage a wide range of issues including context, culture, resources, climate and other outside factors not common to their expereince. 

Students: Cassidy Barnett, Aaron Brown, Sarah Heimermann, Mitzi Coker, Emily Corgan, Ben Cross, Peter Duke, Emily Fike, Sam Funari, Lauren Heile, Kendra McHaney, Lauren Metts, Morgan Oiler, Bernice Paez, Forrest Reynolds, Emily Ryan, James Sawyer, Zachary Smith, Robert Thew, Cory Wikerson Faculty: John McRae, Chris King, David Matthews

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Special Thanks!

The Haiti Studio for spring 2012 is being supported by HaitiServe foundation based in Knoxville Tennessee, that is focused on outreach and engagement in improving conditions in Haiti. 

« Clinic at Fort Liberte - Team Sawyer, Sherborne, & Wetherington | Main | Emergency Response Unit: Doctors on Demand »

Doctors on Demand

Early on in the project we were dubbed the “maximalists” for taking on issues of mobile healthcare at a large scale. Not having been to Haiti, it was very helpful working with Aaron Brown and Lauren Metts, who had a great sense of the landscape as well as the culture. We started by looking at ambulances/fire trucks and customizing it to fit our needs for a mobile medical unit. However, the unpredictable roads in Haiti would have made it difficult to justify our reasoning for this design. So instead we looked at the idea of a dump truck, or a system where a truck drops off a unit for an extended period of time then retrieves it when more supplies are needed. This way, the units could function as extensions of a hospital in Haiti and get medical treatment closer those in rural areas.


Luckily, Aaron Brown has an extensive knowledge of the technical aspects of these trucks (which is still pretty unfamiliar to me). Basically, the unit would leave the hospital compacted, dropped off at a particular location, then expanded to create three separate observation areas, one interior and two exterior. The exterior spaces are shaded by RV-like awnings that extend from the unit. There is enough storage for all medical needs, as well as tools and staff storage. Ventilation was also an important issue we addressed by leaving openings at the bottom and top of each unit.  

One of the strengths of our project was how we incorporated it into the culture. Like the Tap Taps seen all over the country, we decided that the units could be painted by the locals or possibly with educational information so that the objects do not seem so foreign. Our project was designed for healthcare providers to stay for extended periods of time. However, one of the weaknesses of our project was the sleeping arrangement. While we had incorporated beds into our design, realistically this would not be very comfortable for the doctors and nurses. Overall, I think we had a really strong idea that could have been taken even further with more time.

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