Sunday, June 26, 2011

Andrés Duany: Haitian Housing

Karen Cilento of Arch Daily writes: In just a short period of time since the earthquake hit Haiti, designers have been proposing possible housing solutions for the country. ... The first proposal is designed by Andres Duany, a Miami architect. Duany, with the help of sociologists and anthropologists, has designed four different versions of a temporary structure to relieve the urgent need for housing in Haiti. The differences in the homes respond to the varying ways Haitians live, so that each home is tailored to their specific needs.

Innovida, a composite panel manufacturer, has teamed with Duany, and has announced that they will donate 1000 of these homes to Haiti. Innovida imagines that factory to build such houses could be located near Port-au-Prince-providing work for close to 1000 Haitians. With $15 million in investment capital, the proposed factory should produce 10,000 houses per year.


One of the models, entitled Le Cabanon homes, is a simple structures that can sleep 8 people in an open floor plan with bunk beds. The construction would only take a few days, and the structure is earthquake proof and will withstand 155mph winds. The units do not have a bathroom, as it is expected that water will not be available in many areas to use for a toilet.

A shared feature of the four designs is their insulating panel system which would be made from materials commonly found in the aviation and windmill industries. The load bearing systems will have structural skins made of high-strength E-Glass fiber fabrics impregnated with a fire-resistant polymeric epoxy resin and a core made of a construction foam material and would be good for the conditions in Haiti, because they resist moisture, mold, and insects.
It is interesting that the initial idea of the homes was just to serve as a temporary structure. If the materials, especially the panel system, is so well suited for the conditions in Haiti, why not make the structures permanent? If we learned anything from the most recent disaster in Chile, we should take away the fact that the strict building codes of the country truly saved people’s lives. With that in mind, shouldn’t we be trying to design such structures for Haiti that will serve as a long term solution?

While the government has not yet made any decision about the proposals from Innovida, or from the other companies offering shelter options, hopefully by pooling these ideas together we can find the best solution. (source: Arch Daily, March 2, 2010)



Shelter for Haiti / Andres Duany

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