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 butterfly roof (4)


Patriate Family House - Team 6

Our first house is designed to fit a typical family. Knowing that the use of porch space is essential to daily life in Haiti, we designed our house with sliding doors that open up. This allows the indoor living space to become totally connected with the outdoor environment. 

When designing our floor plan, we wanted the progression of the house to move from public space to private. From the front porch, residents move into a large open living space that contains the kitchen, dining, and living rooms. The back of the house contains 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. This gives the family a more intimate private space that celebrates the desire for shadow and a respite from the sun. 

Knowing that rainwater collection would be a valuable addition to our house, we studied several roof forms before deciding on a butterfly roof. This form allows water to drain to the valley in the middle of the roof. The valley has a slight slope in it to encourage the water to run off the roof and into a cistern located on the side of the house. The use of a butterfly roof allowed us to not only provide the house with rainwater collection, but increases the opportunity for ventilation throughout the house. Screens are located at the top to promote air circulation to cool down the interiors. 

 Click on the link below to view our final construction document set.

Construction Documents


Home for an Expatriate Retiree



  • 2 bedrooms
  • 2 full bath
  • carport
  • 1,650 sq. ft.
Driving concepts
  • openness (visual, ventilation and diffuse light)
  • multifunctioning (year round porch)
  • water collection






ll Resolution Images






Retired Expatriate 3 BIG IDEAS

Fond-des Blanc






Awareness of culture and environment is a necessity for good design. I selected a building site convenient to the pavilion and the walking bridge in a semi-private setting as it relates to the over-all master plan.  Fruit trees on the west side of the house provides privacy,  reduces summer heat gain, and provide fresh fruit for the homeowner.  In determinig the house program,   I created a simple design, easily replicated.  The entire method of construction and technology, in the form of rainwater harvesting, is independent of imported materials and labor.  The methods used in construction and technology are designed toward the Haitian people, empowering them by creating employment and stability; and by putting housing back into the hands of the people. By creating a simple, easily replicated design, utilizing local labor, and materials; the community can continue with its growth and progress.  




1.       Rainwater Harvesting:   A convenient and adequate supply of water is a necessity for the  homeowner.  The rainwater collection system's design is also a determinant in the over-all design of the home and expressed in the main circulation of the interior.  Where the rainwater converges on the final roof plane, the metal roofing material changes to concrete.  This change in material emphasizes the rains journey to the rain barrel and the main entrance of the home.



2.    Built-in Furniture:  My decision to  incorporate build-in furniture was determined by a number of  factors.  The square footage of the home totals 975.  Utilizing built-ins create more open space  in a small area and provides more storage options.  The design features baskets for storage in kitchen and bedrooms  and custom seat cushions for living and dining area, made of local materials by local craftsmen.   This is a more practical concept and benefits the local economy.   Hiring local craftsmen provides income and promotes pride and involvement in the community.  It is also more cost efficient and logistically easier due to the cost of transportation and the lack of adequate roads.



3.  Emphasis on Public and Private Space: The interior public and private spaces are proportionally equal (diagram 2).  The public interior is defined by the sheltering roof and the exterior public space is defined by a tree canopy.  Where the two  spaces overlap, I incorporated a front porch.  The porch concept connects the public roofed interior space with the outside public exterior space (diagram 4).  A front porch is very important in the Haitian culture.  It serves as "the" social gathering place.


















































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































































Ex-Patriot Retiree's Home

Street View

Being tasked with creating a home for a retiree returning to Haiti from the states gave us a long list of criteria that helped shape this preliminary design of this home. Our main driver was DENSITY VS OPENNESS, meaning that we wanted all of the social spaces (kitchen, dining, living and porch) to be adjacent and zoned to one side of the home, while the private spaces (bedroom and bathrooms) would be located on the other end of the home in a densely packed zone.

Floor PlanWe felt that we could best express a sense of openness in the social spaces by opening up the walls with either vent block, or glass doors. In this way, we hope that the entire west side of the home would become a living room for entertaining and a space for enjoying the beautiful weather of Fond-Des-Blancs.

New Plan and SectionAfter reviewing this iteration, we decided we could open up the home even more if we allowed the wall of doors to fold up on each other and collapse to the sides. This would allow the living and dining to spill onto the porch, making it usable all year long. We chose to let the butterfly roof dictate our "wet" spaces by placing the kitchen and both bathrooms adjacent to the point where rainwater would be collected. This also creates a clear datum that emphasizes the separation of social and private, or even, openness vs dense.