One Year In: Five Healthful Homes for Haiti

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One Year In: Five Healthful Homes for Haiti

One year ago, a catastrophic earthquake tore through Haiti killing 200,000 people. Today, some progress has been made to return to normality but a Goliath mountain of rubble that was once Port au Prince still must be cleared and housing built for the vast population living in ruins and tents.

Toward that end, ARCHIVE, Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments, has announced the winners of a housing competition and will build five houses that promote healthy living in Haiti this year. Winners from around the world paid special attention to limit the transmission of tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS, the leading deadly diseases in the country.

The “Housing and Health in Haiti” competition garnered 147 entries from interdisciplinary teams in five continents. Winners were chosen to showcase innovative strategies in disease prevention through design while also being easily buildable with local materials and techniques.

Five prototype houses will be constructed in the coastal town of Saint-Marc in eastern Haiti in cooperation with a local health organization.Each prototype is easily replicable by the local community.

“What has sadly been overlooked even prior to the earthquake is how housing improvements can address the root causes of poor health,” said ARCHIVE founder Peter Williams in a statement. “We hope our project will empower Haitians in rebuilding their lives, but also we want to replicate this model in other countries – demonstrating that among the poorest, housing can be a central strategy for improving health.”

The winning entry, pictured at top, called Breathe House was designed by a team of architects, engineers, and doctors from the United States and the UK. The proposal makes extensive use of natural light and ventilation throughout the interior spaces and its simple construction of local materials can be reproduced in the community.

Maison Canopy, Second Place (Courtesy Archive)

American architects Lilian Sherrard and Brook K. Sherrard took second place for their Maison Canopy which hopes to foster community with a spacious covered porch where residents can rebuild community relationships. The house incorporates low-tech green features like rainwater collection for affordability and utilizes cross-ventilation and insect screening to promote occupant health where mosquito-born illness is common.

Shutter Dwelling, Third Place (Courtesy Archive)

The appropriately named Shutter Dwelling designed by an interdisciplinary Italian team consisting of Marco Ferri, Giorgio Giannattasio, Sara Parlato, Roberto Pennachio, and Andrea Tulisi was awarded third place. With an emphasis on spatial separation of sick and healthy occupants, the proposal calls for fresh airflows to promote health. The social center of the home revolves around the kitchen and the design takes cues from vernacular Haitian architecture.

Bois l'Etat, Honorable Mention (Courtesy Archive)

Another interdisciplinary team of architects, engineers, doctors, sustainability consultants, and a horticulturalist designed Bois l’Etat, a house designed around communal lifestyles. The project incorporates local materials and building practices for ease of construction and to improve the local economy. Green features include rainwater harvesting, composting toilets, and efficient use of energy.

Cycle House, Merit Award (Courtesy Archive)

Architects Henry Luis Oquet, Kenneth Lopez, and Arlin Morales along with Engineer Pedro Almonte from the Dominican Republic creates Merit Award winner Cycle House. The proposal juxtaposes open lined with screens and closed spaces independent from the rest of the house to facilitate a healthy living environment. Herbs and medicinal plants grow from the house and a bike can be hooked up to provide electricity.