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 expatriate (2)


Young Professional Ex-Pat Housing _ Team02

Our intent was to design a modest house for a returning young professional. We wanted to keep the house relatively small in size (approximately 900 sf) as not to overwhelm the landscape or the existing community. We also wanted the house to be flexible enough to inhabit any of the lots designated on the site. The porch, approximately 300 SF, serves as a gathering space for inhabiters and visitors. Only the slab and columns (and possible native shrubbery) denote the given porch space, which is meant to be welcoming and inviting for guests and neighbors.


Use a minimal amount of materials

Use as many locally available materials as possible

Provide a design that would be easy to construct by local contractors and craftsman

Provide ample ventilation through generous use of vent block and open truss systems



~900 SF

2 bedrooms

1 bathroom


There is one main load-bearing wall, into which all the trusses tie. Many of the trusses fall on partition walls within the house. A set of louvres was designed above the load-bearing wall to let in maximum light (especially in the hallway) but minimal to no rain. The floor plan was designed to have an open kitchen/living room/dining room, separate from the private spaces (bedrooms and bathroom). The kitchen was designed to have ample storage, with places designed for locally available or imported appliances. 


Slab- site-cast concrete

Walls- locally crafted concrete block

Windows- locally-crafted vent block

Trusses- wood

Roof- locally available tin or metal

Finish- stucco


Expatriate Family House



1,400 square feet

3 bedroom

2 full bath


Design Goals

- allow ventilation in all rooms

- give added ventilation in bathrooms

- design a glorified porch space for public gathering

- create a separation between the master bedroom and the two guest bedrooms

- connect the indoors and outdoors

 Due to the importance of social interaction in Haitian culture, a returning expatriate would want to come back to a home that will help enable them to fit in with the culture once again.

Because the porch is often the only space that visitors are invited to gather on, the porch has gained the status of an individual room in Haitian culture. In the expatriate house, the U-shaped courtyard becomes a glorified porch that allows plenty of space for guests to gather.

Hierarchy is given to the main living space with tall gabled trusses punctuating the interior of the space. Doors on either side of the living space open to the outdoors, connecting the interior living space with nature and adding a connection between the occupants inside with the occupants outside.

The master bedroom is separated from the other bedrooms to create a sense of privacy. Each bedroom is located on a corner of the house to ensure cross ventilation will cool the rooms throughout the day. The two restrooms extend outward on either side of the house in order to enhance ventilation within each bathroom.


Lastly, we added a few decorative touches that we felt would enhance the overall feel of a Haitian house and create more business for the locals in Haiti. Ironwork is used instead of cabinet doors in the kitchen. Woven wood is used on the exterior doors to create a translucent barrier that allows light to flow into the living room. Also, we have suggested that the wood trusses on the interior be colored so the vibrant color on the exterior is brought into the house.