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. 

Entries in Wayfinding (2)


Eben-Ezer Medical Clinic, Ft. Liberte Haiti

            Three main focal points of the project include passive ventilation, the patient-family dynamic, and visibility and wayfinding. In our research we found that the healthcare experience in Haiti is often highly crowded and chaotic. Large crowds of people gather all day to wait to be seen by a doctor. This level of social desperation made an impression on our group. Our design eases this chaos by providing spaces that are well ventilated, that include room for family members, and that are easy to navigate. There are three main wings of the design. The front volume of space houses entry and exit sequences with housing lying above. The angled wing houses the path of the common care patient. Patient exam rooms fill the wing and its directionality points the patients in the direction of entry and exit. The patient rooms have double circulation that leads to a secondary greenspace. This greenspace houses outdoor extensions of the rooms so that the doctor and patient can go out into the direct sunlight to make a tough diagnosis but still maintain privacy to the space. The rooms remain private because clerestory windows face the main courtyard while larger CMU block windows face the private secondary space. The west wing houses space for patients who need additional care such as observation, isolation and surgery.

            These wings are filled with volumes that are pulled apart and isolated from one another such that wind can pass through the site with ease. The spaces are arranged around a central courtyard to increase visibility so that patients have a much more thorough and obvious understanding of what goes on around the site and where they need to be (or not be) at all times. The east wing swings open to increase visibility to the site and to extend the view of the skyline. This way the space will not feel daunting and compressed. Instead it is open and inviting. In the center of the courtyard are four blocks of concrete seatwall with trees in the center to provide shade and activate the space for those who are waiting.

            The patient-family dynamic is approached by providing instead of negating space for the family members to wait. It is a cultural norm for the families to all come together and to want to know what is going on with the doctor and the patient. Instead of pushing these people out, the design gives heed to social and cultural trends and provides comforting space for these individuals. This cuts down on chaotic behaviors from the patients and the family members and allows for a more comfortable experience.


Eben-Ezer Medical Clinic Expansion | Ft. Liberte, Haiti

Haiti is a very impoverished nation where organized, public healthcare is virtually non-existent. The majority of the population has never experienced a clinic-type setting before and often time suffers from disease and sickness caused by unclean water. More than anything, there is an overwhelming sense of chaos and disorder throughout the nation.

Ground Floor Plan with paving patterns

Because Haiti is still a developing country, it was a necessity for the design of this medical clinic to accept and implement passive strategies with natural daylighting and natural ventilation. Using a series of screens to not only act as shading devices from harsh direct sunlight, but also as a permeable ‘wall’ in the main served spaces to allow for ventilation, these passive goals were able to be achieved.  

Diagram: Natural Ventilation and daylighting from green screen within exam rooms

View of circulation under green screen from back of site

Positioning the check-in at the entrance, seen instantly through the newly renovated existing clinic (which I had turned into a lower level colonnade), allowed an immediate recognition of the sequence and order of programmatic pieces. From the check-in one would move directly into the waiting area. With a direct correlation to the exam rooms, divided only by an elongated courtyard and the screens, the patient can begin to understand and visualize the next space they will most likely inhabit. From there, one would either move towards the observation and lab area, or on to the exit of the complex, where the pharmacy is located for a smooth and easy transition back out onto the street of Ft. Liberte.


Programming Diagrams

The clinic has been designed to blanket outside chaos with a calming sense of organization and wayfinding, applying bright colors found all around Haiti into the different programmatic elements within, also creating a sense of comfort and familiarity. Mostly, this medical clinic has been designed to allow the patient to leave with something more than they came in with: new-fangled knowledge.


Section A : Cutting through waiting/exam rooms and adjacent screens

Section B : Cutting through pharmacy/laboratory rooms with green screen in background

Section C : Cutting through observation/laboratory/exam spaces

Because of the lack of clean water in most regions of Haiti, I chose to implement a simplistic system of water collection, allowing this visual process to take place in the check-in and waiting area, where most, if not all, patients would find themselves at some point or another. From here, they would move into an exam room. En route, patients would pass by the central focus of the exterior courtyard, a solar still, which would be constantly distilling and filtering water throughout the day for the use of the clinic, providing them with a better understand of the way in which anyone can produce clean water.

Massing Site Axon showing ideal water collection routes

View looking into waiting/education spaces from back of site