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. 

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Teacher Roommate House: Final Proposal


  • 4 Bedrooms
  • 2 Full bathrooms
  • 2043 sq. ft. (nominal)
  • 1820 sq. ft. (habitable)

Design Goals:

  • Simple symmetrical plan
  • Large shared living space that opens to the outside
  • Use materials found or produced locally in Haiti
  • Passive ventilation for all rooms
  • Apartment layout

The final design of the Teacher Roommate House is designed to demand interaction.  The occupants for this house are envisioned as being teachers that work at the (School) up the road.

The layout of the floor plan mimics a dormitory style plan where the bedrooms surround a large open living space.  Included in this living space are the kitchen, dining and gathering spaces. Wicker panels built into the exterior walls of the living space open up to covered porches giving the space a public feel. Oftentimes in Haiti, visitors are only invited onto the porch and not into the houses.


Each end of the house is a two-bedroom module able to sleep up to four people. Bathrooms and storage spaces serve as buffer areas between the two bedrooms and the bathrooms are extruded to allow.  Vent block windows in all the rooms allow cross ventilation of all spaces.

The roofing design on the house gives hierarchy to the spaces.  The largest hip roof is over the primary living space, while smaller hip roofs are over the secondary bedroom spaces.  A flat roof covers the tertiary restroom and circulation spaces.

 The exterior design of the house has a rhythm to it.  The bedrooms and living space each have exterior walls that extend up past the ceiling line of the house.  Along the exterior there is a horizontal shading plane that helps with sun shading on the exterior of the house.  Pilasters along the exterior walls assist in holding up the cantilevered roof as well as add a visual sense of rhythm.


Lastly, the house was designed to be a representation of its occupants.   Its formal appearance shows strength with a hint of monumentality.  This aspect was included in the design to give importance to the teachers and make them important in society.


Teacher Roommate Housing Design Proposal

When designing the roommate house, our team thought about how the layout of the house will affect the interaction among the roommates.  The rooms of the house are separated by the living space with a porch that extends out the front of the space.  We wanted to create a house plane that resembles the layout of an apartment.  With two rooms set to each side of the house, sharing a common bathroom and storage area.  The house includes a large covered porch that will face the pedestrian walkway through the center of the development.  


The kitchen is placed at the front of the house next to the porch, so that you can cook and look outside the front of the house to say hello to anyone walking by.  Each room includes many vent block windows to allow natural ventilation and the possibility of cross ventilation.  Additionally, the bathrooms are pulled from the main form to allow a natural breeze to flow through the bathroom.



Open & Versatile: Young Professional Patriate House




Click here for PDF's of Drawings



  • 2 bedroom (optional addition)

  • 2 full bath

  • 1,128 sq. ft.


Programmatic Goals

  • seperate the master bedroom and the guest bedroom

  • design an easily modifiable floor plan for future expansion of a third bedroom

  • connect the entrance and the back of the house

  • create simplicity and efficiency


Design Intentions

  • passive ventilation is a primary concern

  • take advantage of simple technology and energy efficiency

  • meet the needs and expectations of the occupant

  • design spaces and furniture that are interactive and dynamic

  • provide security



The second proposal for Team LLBen (Lauren Heile, Lauren Metts, & Ben Cross) is the Young Professional Patriate House. The home is designed to meet the needs of the occupant, implement passive and energy efficient design methods, and to create a comfortable dwelling.


The layout of the floor plan connects the front of the house to the back of the house. With two tri-fold doors on both the front and back, the living room is capable of being opened completely to create one large “exterior covered space” while still keeping privacy to the bedrooms. We want guests to be able to enjoy the mountainous views on the back side of the house without having to navigate through private spaces.


The importance of privacy is taken well into consideration. One of our most important and more challenging goals was to separate the master bedroom from the guest bedroom(s). The challenge in separating the bedrooms is that we were forced to create two full baths and it was difficult not to waste precious space just for a hallway. The bedrooms are located on either side of the living room. These spaces are separated by a sliding door for extra privacy.


One other key intention for the design of this home was to make the living conditions inside the home as comfortable as possible. We learned on our trip to Haiti that the Haitian people like the interior of the home to be cool in temperature and dark. Considering the normal day of a Haitian, there is always plenty of sun and they are always outside. The home is an escape from the heat and the light. As far as light as considered, the fenestration has plenty of cover from the overhang of the eaves to prevent direct sunlight from entering. The clerestory from the monitor roof allows enough indirect light to keep the living room a space where tasks can be accomplished. The bedrooms will be darker, making them a place of rest and relaxation.


The monitor roof not only provides indirect lighting for the living room, but it is also the key to our passive ventilation system. Cool air from floor will rise, but it will eventually be heated by the solar heat gain from the metal roof. If the air were to be trapped, the house would heat up like a car with closed windows on a sunny day. With this design, the fenestration on the perimeter of the house, as well as the openings on either end of the living room, allows the cool breeze from outside to flush out the warm air inside (from SHG) through the clerestory of the monitor roof. This system works very well in tropical climates. In order to get optimum performance, we supplemented this system with a 10' diameter fan from Big Ass Fans®. They're energy efficient fans and they make a big difference in the performance of the system.




Young Professional Expatriate House


In this house for a young professional expatriate couple, there were several factors that influenced our design. The first was a heightened sense of public space versus private space. This was done through the creation of separate living zones within the home. The first and more private zone contains the bedrooms and bathroom, with a more public zone containing the kitchen, living and dining rooms on the other side of the house. These zones are separated by the thinner zone of circulation, which is delineated by the custom walls designed for our project.



Our second emphasis was on a relational response to the site, in particular the central node where much of the community activity will be. This site response determined the angle at which the house meets the site and also the condition in the living area, where the home steps out to give it more presence on the node. This area is also given more presence with the trellis which will bring the softening effect of hanging plants to the home.



The roof form with its open structure serves several purposes at once. First, in addition to deep overhangs that shed water, the roof was also designed with water collection in mind. The sections of the roof all come to the same point in order to give a definitive collection point for rainwater. Guttering can be used to bring this water into an underground storage tank. We left the structure of the roof exposed, choosing to use horizontal louvers with mesh screen behind to promote natural ventilation. The louvers will also block unwanted light from entering the space and causing heat gain.



Reflective Statement

The greatest humanitarian challenge we face today is that of providing shelter.   In the Fond Des Blanc design project, as architecture students, we were given the opportunity to design a housing community for the local residences.  When you take people of limited means and put them in well-designed homes, you change their lives by giving them stability, pride, and hope.  This positive affirmation carries out into the neighborhood and surrounding communities.