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 central space (1)


Site Design

    The class held a inner-studio design competition for the overall site plan for the housing project in Fond des Blancs. Three of the teams had very similar concepts and initial ideas for the site plan. The teams combined to form Team C. We collaborated and combined alike concepts and ideas, and discussed issues of contradiction.

    We found ourselves asking the question: How do we introduce american advantages into a haitian culture? Conceptually, we were striving to improve the quality of Haitian life without creating a gap between the Haitian needs in Fond des Blancs and American design. The most effective way that we determined to accomplish our goal was to design in context -not in concept. We analyzed local resources, construction methods, and the culture in Fond des Blancs. Our analysis lead us to a list of  physical "absolutes", "grey areas", and "off limits" design principals. We focused on responding to preexisting site conditions, the interests of Jean and Joy, and bringing quality to our overall design.

    We faced many obstacles attempting to graph ourselves into the culture in order to understand Haitian design. As a team, we recognized that our design is intended to be an alternative to urban living. While our site is located in rural Haiti, we utilized program gradation across the site and strong community emphasis for locating public, semi-private, and private zones. The public area is located adjacent to the road. Traveling into the site, you experience the transitions through building proximity and open space.

    While traveling in Haiti, we observed many variations of organic growth in Haitian dwellings. We documented the tent cities in Port au Prince and the small family homes in the mountains. Our site plan embodied the organic growth, relationships, and proximities of Haitian buildings. As a team, we felt that the design concept and the realities of Haitian design were composed in a simple and orderly final site plan.