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

Entries in bamboo (3)


House for Expatriate Retiree

Our team designed a house for expatriate couple returning to Haiti for retirement. Our main concept was to create a tranquil home to live in while implementing diffused lighting, ventilation and local materials. Our concept directly influenced our decision of where to build the house on the site. We chose to place it on a lot on the west side of the site overlooking the river and surrounded by forest. 

We seperated the public and private space of the house and kept a strong connection to the porches of the house. We focused on the connection between the interior and exterior of the house. Since Haitians spend most of their time outdoors we tried to find ways to bring nature inside. The main living area of the house is closed off by a local bamboo system that allows views to the outside as well as light and ventilation throughout. We also used ventblock and louvered windows to increase good ventilation in the house. Our design also features a simple rainwater collection system for the residents use. 


A House for a Moon Dazzler: A Study of Ventilation, Material, and Indoor/Outdoor Relationships

Location: Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Function: Residential
Client: Benjamin Garcia Saze’s mother
Construction Cost: USD 40,000
Main Material: Bamboo
Completed: 2010
Architect: Benjamin Garcia Saxe

The Bamboo House, designed by Benjamin Garcia Saxe, is the perfect example of a natural atmosphere. Concepts behind this design, such as natural ventilation, ample shade, and sustainable materials, are great ideas to think about in our design for Haiti.

The one bedroom home allows the interior and exterior to coexist. The bedroom is located on one end and a kitchen and living space are located on the opposite end. The two spaces are separated by an open courtyard.

Roofs for both main areas are made of bamboo rings covered in burlap that open up underneath the larger tin protective roof. The roofs give the appearance of being detached and raised above the rooms.

The open air construction and the large overhanging tin roofs allow for natural air ventilation but still provide ample shade from the hot sun.


Design Proposal

Precedent Analysis

Butterfly Houses

Analysis of Butterfly Houses

Located in a small village of Noh Bo, Tak on the Thai-Burmese border, the Butterfly Houses were designed by TYIN Tegnestue, a non profit organization specializing in humanitarian architecture. This community of dormitories was designed to work in collaboration with the existing orphanage. The goal was to create a space where children could have a normal living experience, with room to climb, swing, interact, or be alone. Our analysis focused primarily on the functionality of the units and how we might glean principles out of their design to utilize in our design of Haitian residences.





Site Plan and Driving ConceptsPrivate Courtyard DiagramStreet ViewPedestrian Walkway

Street View Looking Into CourtyardFloor Plan

When designing this proposal for a housing development in Fonds Des Blancs, Haiti, we decided to shape our program around four major, driving concepts. In order to optimize views and maintain a strong edge along the street, porches were designed to fit the house and act as a buffer between the irregularly placed houses and the rigid street. Most of the porches used are considered private and semi-private, so that they can better serve the inward-focused courtyard or take full advantage of interactions that would occurr along the street edge.

Throughout the site, a pedestrian path has been created to guide both visitors and residents through the site, serving as the main connection between the commercial zone along the main street and the large communal space located near the intersection of the streams. This path follows the natural topography of the site within a rigid, paved framework, while also interweaving various landscape features. Running the full length of the path is a colonade of trees designed to optimize certain views and shield other views into the private courtyard. These trees serve as a guide to lead pedestrians to the communal pavilion or the commercial space. Views have dictated much of what was designed on the site, from the orientation of the homes, to the location of the pavilion and communal space.

Every house on the site has been designed in such a way that it acts as one part of group of homes that create several pods across the site. This layout allowed us to utilize the private courtyards and create an inward focusing space that can be used as a gathering place for cooking, socializing or recreation. While each home is allotted to their own lot, the private courtyard acts as  backyard to each home within the pod.

Team 3 Design Proposal Gallery