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

search haiti_utk
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. 

Entries in Ben Culbertson (1)


Mobile Medical Aid for Haiti, by Haiti

Mobile Medical Unit can be transported by a person, donkey, or Tap-Tap (Truck).

This project would provide the opportunity for the distribution of medical aid to Haitian people in remote locations. The main components include a 55 gallon oil drum and two wheels. The size of the mobile medical unit bridges the gap between a standard backpack and a full service ambulance. The mobile medial unit can also be used as a modular unit to transport a larger amount of medical supplies. Lastly, and most important, the majority of the materials needed to construct this project can be found and assembled RIGHT IN HAITI.

Exploded view of the Mobile Medical Unit's components.

In continuation of this project, I will redesign the handle attachment to the oil drum. In the present case, the rope wraps around the barrel and is strung through a pipe to provide a rigid separation between either other barrels or the person transporting the Mobile Medical Unit. However, further thought needs to be taken on the functionality and ease of transportation.

The storage container rolls up to fit in the barrel and unrolls for easy access and easy sight lines to all available supplies.

As previously stated, all of the materials to construct the unit, except for the storage container, can be found in Haiti. This allows for a cost effective way to produce and maintain the unit. The design assumes that the Haitians ability to maintain Tap-Taps puts them beyond the skills needed to construct this unit.


This system of manufacturing also allows for ease in the transportation of medical supplies from the United States. The only component that will not be produced in Haiti is the storage container. This way, the container can be manufactured, packed with supplies, and shipped to Haiti all in one action.


The design and materials allows this mobile medical unit to be durable and traverse many types of terrains.

Mobile Medical Unit used as a modular device to transport a larger amount of medical supplies.

This first project has also helped me by providing an initial understanding of typical medical needs in Haiti and the limitations in available construction material and methods.  The resources in the United States, which are typically taken for granted, have primed us as designers to design in a way that we are most accustomed to and this puts us at a distinct disadvantage for the upcoming project. In conclusion, I hope to continue to augment my understanding and knowledge of the Haitian culture in an effort to best meet the needs of the Haitian people both medically and psychologically.