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. 

haiti_utk public blog index
« Haiti House Design 06 B - final blog post | Main | Expatriate Family House »

A Semester's Journey

This semester was a great experience for all of us. The trip to Haiti, of course, was an immense eye opener.  We were able to see, for ourselves, the Haitian culture, beautiful landscape, and the effects of natural disaster. The class challenged us in new ways, brought us together as classmates and teams, and allowed us to have a different sense of pride in our work.  


The challenges presented were unlike anything in previous studios. We had a very limited material palette to work with, but we strived to use materials in new and innovative ways, such as wicker doors and iron kitchen cabinet doors.  Another challenge we worked hard to overcome was the provision of ventilation and lighting.  To minimize the usage of electricity, we established designs that would allow for passive cross ventilation and, in some areas, stack ventilation.  In addition, the strategic placement of windows, made of vent block and wicker, gives the house passive lighting.


Normally our studio projects are completed individually.  This was probably everyone’s first experience working in a group setting.  It was challenging at times, agreeing and dividing up the work evenly, but it gave us a sense of what it will be like to work in a firm.  It also seemed to bring us closer together, working with Interior Design students and Graduate students.


The end result, we feel, gives us a different sense of pride than our normal final projects.  This one is a gift to other people to enrich the lives of those who need it most.  We also feel accomplished, designing a house that will suit Haiti very well, as far as function and aesthetics.  To see the houses built and possibly meet those living in them would give a sense of accomplishment like no other.

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