Haiti : Traditional crafts as a lever of resilience

Outside Perspective

(Rural School Haiti Contest)
Construction of a rural school in two phases (phase 1: 110m²; phase 2: 156m²).
The project must take into account the current (post-emergency) situation, potential risks and economic constraints.

TE NWA Community, Cabaret, Haiti.

Issued on September 23, 2019

Under $45,000


The disasters that affected Haiti urge us to question our ways of handling catastrophies and their consequences. Three principles can be drawn from this proposal : protect, repair and learn.

In its very layout, the school project adapts to its environment’s constraints. The design integrates seismic bracing principles, hurricane-proof roofing orientation (slopes) and floor lifting (flood). Trees are also considered as a natural barrier, but far enough from the structure to ensure its safety if they came to fall.

The techniques here are simple (suited for self-building), allowing the project’s maintenance and evolution to run as a ‘learning work-site’. For instance, the peripheral walls’ modular panel fillings can be replaced (wicker-style weaving, wooden slats, brick laying) or adapted depending on specific needs or potential damage. The school is therefore not only a place for studying, it becomes a means of passing down local crafts and seismic/hurricane-proof construction techniques.

Common sense also involves consideration for resources management. This project was designed to be built with local materials : sisal, gabion, micro-concrete roof tiles and clay as mortar. The school project is part of a virtuous circle by supporting the area’s economic dynamism. The building’s central core acts as a rainwater recovery system supplying water points. Those are vital and help limit epidemic spreads (such as cholera).

As a conclusion, this project aims at repairing, both in a tangible (school) and intangible manner, using this work site as a way to connect people and make them proud of their local know-how.

An optimized and evolutionary design, articulated around a technical core

Ground floor plan
Cross section

Spaces adaptable to different educational uses

Inner Perspective : Classroom
Local materials, consistent with the territory's know-how
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