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

search haiti_utk
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 kitchen (1)


Next Steps

Photo by Morgan Oiler


Our experience in Haiti by far exceeded our expectations. To learn about a culture and to experience that culture results in summation that your research is only a single story. Preconceived notions are either proved true or false. To our advantage, though, we are able to elaborate on or reevaluate design concepts from our initial approach based on the proving of these notions. As a group we chose to elaborate on the porch concept and reevaluate the kitchen  concept. 



 Photo by Morgan Oiler



While in Haiti, our classmates built relationships within our studio and with Haitians that probably would not have existed otherwise. In a sense, we became a family, through gathering and socializing, through laughter and silence. These interactions somehow always took place on or within the realm of the porch. Therefore, our group took initiative to analyze the key factors contributing to or causing this observation. We determined that everyone always migrated toward the porch for several reasons.

  1. shade
  2. seating
  3. views of surrounding environment

We also observed that the porch was never big enough for a large group gathering. Only several people could enjoy this space. Hence, moving forward, we will take this analysis into consideration and develop a stronger design for the "porch concept".



 Photo by Morgan Oiler


Before our excursion, as a studio, we believed that cooking outside was a way of life in the Haitian culture. From our understanding, the Haitians were used to that lifestyle and perhaps it gave them great pleasure to do so. However, through interviewing Jean and Joy Thomas, we discovered that some Haitians were only prepared food outside by choice. Kitchens are still needed in the home and should not be designed to enhance the outdoor cooking tradition. Instead the kitchen should be considered another room indoors. In this urban alternative community, cooking outside should be viewed as a plan B, in case gas stoves cannot be powered. Moving forward in our scheme, we have to reevaluate this notion in order to satisfy our clients and improve the overall master plan to include these design aspects. This, in turn, creates constraints that conclude in creative solutions, which motivates our team.