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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Entries in home (2)


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.


Diary entry of Fond-des-Blancs

Dear Diary,

Today is February 2, and one of the coldest days I’ve experienced in New York this winter. As you know I am a civil engineer student studying at NYC University, and I plan to travel home to Fond des Blancs for our spring recess. I shall miss the city and its many amenities, but I look forward to the warm weather and the smiles of my family and people. Their strength and prosperity through these hard times after the earthquake have made me more determined to learn all I can in school, so I can return home and create stable homes for my people. Creating a functional community that will stand as the trademark for design is my true goal. So, I boarded the plane for home, I plan to study and sketch all of my experiences for my design. 

Dear Diary,

Today is February 3, and I have finally made it home and embraced all of the cultural transitions. The smell of charcoal burning fills the warm humid air. Seeing farm animals graze the lands is something that I have not missed living in New York.  But I have missed the great conversations of people gathering around the stream to wash their clothes. I do wish that my people had my stable systems of water and electricity, but this has never stopped them from conversing together at night. This is something I need to keep in mind for my community design. As the day sets I sit and watch the sun set behind the mountains, a warm glow fills the sky as the dark sky starts to set in. This is always the highlight of my day at home for time seems to slow down and the beauty of the country begins to show.

Dear Diary,

Today is February 4, and I have begun writing down things for my desired community in Fond des Blancs. I want to create a place that is organized, has amenities, and is catered to the culture of my people. I plan to make the pedestrian circulation priority and moving the car to the exterior. I also want to keep a lot of the natural trees for they create shade, food, and other gathering spaces. Making structural stable homes is very important for my people have feared living in concrete homes since the earthquake. With my education and connections with construction workers in Haiti, I feel I can make a community that everyone will enjoy and most of all feel safe in.