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. 


ROH Rolling on Haiti

ROH, Rolling on Haiti is a compact emergency medical unit designed to store a large amount of medical supplies in one central location.  One of the main drivers of the project was the ability to utilize multiple means of transportation.  Once the unit has reached the site it would be put together to form two separate rooms.

During our critique many ideas were proposed.  The major issue brought up was the idea that the pharmacy should not be so close to the exam rooms.  We were asked to in one step determine how the problem could be solved our conclusion was to move the exam rooms outside and make the structure itself the pharmacy. 

Looking to the future it would be in the designs best interest to further develop how ventilation plays a role in structure.  Because of Haiti’s high humidity and lack of breeze ventilation is very important. Another important aspect to consider will be to figure out the weight of the unit with the medical supplies.


U-haul-spital Mobile Clinic

U-haul-spital in use with material call-outs. My design partner (Tiffiny Hall) and I created the U-haul-spital, an Emergency Medical Response Unit (EMRU) based off a small, off-road trailer that housed enough supplies to serve a community in need for an average of 5 days.  As a team, we concentrated on the technical aspects and functionality of the unit, to insure the unit would accomplish its task; this included material and construction research and supplies organization

Tiffiny and I learned that research is the key to creating a successful project.  Through our research, we found new materials, construction methods, and possibilities that helped us in designing the EMRU.  Durability and mobility were major concerns as this unit is to be reused and will need to travel over any terrain; therefore, an engineered plastic trailer is to be attached to the aluminum alloy frame.  The storage carts and tents are a modular system allowing for a maximum of adjustability.  The reviewers—made from a group of design and medical professionals—believed that this aspect of the design was agreeable to the needs of Haitian and foreign medical practitioners alike.

Distribution of EMRUs throughout HaitiDuring the critique the main issue was the logistics of dispersing, securing, and transporting the trailers.  As a team, we spent a lot of time researching Haiti’s need for medical care in relation to the population density.  As a pre-disaster unit, it is also meant to be used as a mobile clinic; additionally, the EMRU were to be housed at airports for ease of restocking supplies and initial transport.  However, this prompts the question: Who funds, owns, and operates the units?

As a next step to the design process, we would need to look even more at the cultural aspects of post earthquake Haiti to answer the issues that were discussed in the critique.  The logistics of ownership would need to be fully worked out to insure the success of the units in Haiti.  

 Interior Perspective: Practitioner's View Final Presentation Board


ROH medical clinic

ROH in compact form

Designed as an emergency medical response unit, ROH, Rolling on Haiti, is a compact, mobile unit intended for delivery to a location in need. The compact unit encases two sets of fully stocked shelves, four water bladders, collapsible aluminum poles, and Tyvek canvas, all encased with square rubber floor tiles. The steps for set-up are feasible with three to five persons, beginning with the placement of the flooring and followed by the placement and opening of the hinged shelves. Creating a U-shape, the shelving units define two exam rooms with the Tyvek canvas enclosing the entire unit. Planning for numerous patients and intense outdoor temperatures, ROH includes four benches within the shelves, requiring simple set-up and offering convenient placement for patients being seen and those still waiting. With the completion of the stored medical supplies, it is hoped that a Haitian family will take ownership of the former medical shelter, reusing the elements in a domestic manner.

Relationship of floor tiles to compact unit

With the review of fellow nurses and doctors, minor changes are needed for greater efficiency and success as a mobile medical unit. Programmatically, the pharmacy requires independence from the exam rooms. The modularity of ROH provides great potential for spatial planning, however security finds great prevalence in the modules, needing sufficient space and enclosure. In addition, the Haitian heat and humidity, particularly in the peak of summer, creates slightly unbearable situations. Thus, ventilation design, such as windows with mosquito netting, needs implementation to maintain the miniscule breeze flow; sanitation also requires continuous airflow with the presence of TB patients.

ROH medical clinic in full use

Looking to future design improvements, greater attention is specifically needed in the spatial planning. Focusing on a compact scale, the limitations of materials and storage provide significant design challenges for ROH, however it is possible to reconfigure the exam rooms and the placement of the pharmacy to maximize the use by medical persons. Detailing of the compact unit, such as the size and weight of medical supplies, requires further attention as well, helping to clarify the mobility of the unit.


ROH : rolling on Haiti

ROH is a compact mobile medical unit that is designed to be assembled on site in a series of 5 quick and easy steps. The purpose of the unit is to utilize minimal materials and maximize use for 3-5 days of simple medical procedures in rural Haiti. The unit is complete with wheels for easy on-site maneuverability to ensure the optimal spot in the landscape. The unit is complete with modular rubber floor tiles that make up the outer casing. Inside the casing is two hinged fold out shelves which come pre stocked with all medical supplies needed for the trip in bins as well as benches which can be assembled on site. Along with the shelves, the unit includes tent poles, four water bladders, and tyvek canvas (which will make up the roofing). After unpacking, the shelves are placed in a U- formation on the rubber flooring, the tyvek and aluminum poles make up the roofing which is locked into retractable poles. Once the tyvek is on, the roof can be adjusted up to full height and three of the sides have the option of rolled up tyvek that can become walls. A divider separated the two shelving spaces to make two exam roofs. Once supplies are used, the unit is left on site to become a shelter for a Haitian family. The unit is meant to be cost effective and fast, with these limitations there are  critiques that can be made. The divider wall in the center could be easily supplemented by putting the two shelves back to back, making two separate rooms and eliminating the need for another piece of tyvek. The front openness of the unit does not lend well to cross ventilation, but this issue can be easily solves with an addition of mosquito netted windows or a vent in the top of the unit. The front of the unit should supply some kind of door to direct circulation, this can parallel tent openings by just being a flap in mosquito netting. The use of a mosquito netted front would mean optimal education for patients waiting to be seen; however, taking privacy into consideration the front could be tyvek with mosquito netted doors.


Looking forward, the unit (edited with the critiques ) has a lot of possibilities. The idea of a modular unit with compactable parts that come pre- packed serves to be a good concept. The issue of pharmaceuticals mixing with clinical work arised, which means that in the future ROH units will be issued to serve either purpose but not both. The positives with ROH are its flexibility with size, shape, and after life. The modular pieces mean that the medical staff can control the configuration and size of the unit, and once used up the unit will serve as a flexible home for Haitians. A home that will serve the purpose they need with whatever shape (giving confines of floor tile ) that can withstand weathering elements. 





DetachApack is a mobile medical unit designed for quick and easy setup, along with minimal use of materials and supplies. The pack would include one day’s worth of supplies, medical and pharmaceutical, for 8 medical personal. Each pack also includes one fold out lounge; this would accommodate a patient and a doctor at each station. Supplies would be organized within the pack by dividers, as well as zip off sections to separate the medical from the pharmaceutical supplies. The mobile medical unit would serve approximately 250 Haitians over a four day period with a set of 8 backpacks per day.The detachApack being used by a medical personnel.

Though the pack functioned as was planned there were a couple lessons learned, as well as a few minor tweaks that would make the pack even more functional. The first major lessoned learned from the nurses, would be to make sure there is a good separation between the pharmacy and the doctor and nurses. This would help with crowd control and security of both the medical and pharmaceutical supplies.  The original intent of the detachApack was for the medical and pharmaceutical supplies to be separate from one another in setup, but more specific instructions would improve upon this idea.The fold out lounge chair that could be used for patient examinations.

A functional issue that could be designed better is the fold out lounge chair. Though the idea was beneficial and useful, the design was too low to the ground. This would cause for the doctor to be bent over most of the day. The design could be easily fixed to accommodate a system of telescoping legs for adjustable height as well as the possibility of uneven terrain at the site.

The ends of each pack can be zipped off to be distributed to separate areas of the clinic setup.

 A final critique of the project was the labeling system, or lack thereof. Other than making the zip off sections different colors there was no indication of what was included within the pack. To assist in the ease of setup, a clear indication on each bag of what was inside, such as a list of supplies or a number to indicate what day the bag was to be used for, would decrease a possible mix-ups of bags or the nurses not being able to find a certain medicine quickly. Each bag would also need to be slightly modified to accommodate a space to carry water, as well as an individual lunch for each medical personnel per day.

detachApack presentation pdf