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. 


Eben-Ezer Medical Clinic Addition

analysis of a hibiscus flower

One of the critiques that resonated with our group came from a previous peer, Dani Collins. Dani brought a lot of great perspective to our design because she has previously been in the Haiti studio and had the opportunity to travel there with the college. She complimented our thoughtfulness on our concept of the hibiscus flower that reflects the culture and environment and mentioned how it reminded her of the vibrant personalities of Haitians.

program adjacencies

With concern to the culture, she told us about the need for organization, and that even without much the Haitians display a keen knowledge and need for a system organization. Moving to our two design options, she directed us to stick with our original plan because of the symmetry and systematic approach. She said it mirrored our original diagram better and that we should push for furthering this idea with the greater opportunity for obvious circulation, a clinic register system, ventilation, and other elements that went along with our heuristics.

original floor plan

Overall, the critiques were beneficial in helping us to focus on one plan and to further our concept as well as design. Moving forward, our next steps are to take the preferred plan and diagram in greater depth by adding finer details. The diagrams will help us understand the hierarchy of spaces and in turn tighten up the plan and add tertiary elements like storage and utilities. We will also put more of a focus on the construction details with ventilation, daylight, and materials.

Foundry Presentation Board


Foundry Response

The criticism that I received at the foundry has helped me to redesign the flow of people through the sight and the availability of a possible roof garden to those who are visiting.  To design the section of the sight will require more research into components of a roof garden.


The Yellow circulation zone in the plan above will be expanded to promote access to the top of the building and to provide more sheltered areas to access services.  The limited methods of construction might lead to more required use of conventional building materials.

The zoning across the site will require that a public courtyard, a private courtyard and an emergency/service entrance.  These spaces should function independently from each other.

The planning for the different exam rooms will change to provide enough depth for the remodeling of these spaces as the needs and services change over time.  The eventual availability of surgery in such places will enable the E&A to evolve.








Reflection: After the Foundry

My group (Tiffiny Hall and Alyssa Nealon) presented both the Emergency Medical Response Unit and the schematic design of the Eben-Ezer Medical Clinic expansion.  We felt the mobile medical unit was valuable in the development of the clinic’s expansion.  Many of the lessons learned through the first project were essential in understanding the cultural and medical needs of Haiti; this confidence in our knowledge of the projects and culture helped us communicate more easily with professionals and professors. 

Floor Plan: Program and Square FootageThe Foundry was beneficial in many ways.  The professionals as a whole were very supportive of both our projects and did not point out any glaring issues.  They commended our research, circulation solution, and site usage.  One of our reviewers, who grew up in Southern California, gave us an interesting perspective for design development; she suggested looking at buildings in similar climates and how they address sustainability and circulation—where she thought we could use assistance.

Site Plan: Access and Circulation Parti

From this point, we need to further develop our design.  Many decisions have to be made involving the sectional qualities of the buildings.  The building in plan takes advantage of the sun and wind; however, the section of the building could negate this if not designed correctly.  The concern of non-sheltered circulation is an issue that needs to be addressed.  Also, the materiality and construction methods will greatly affect the look and feel of the environment; research of local materials and methods is needed to determine the best options for our design.

 Sectional Options


Foundry Board Presentation


Furthering Design Insight at the Foundry

Eben-Ezer Clinic Sheet1

Eben-Ezer Clinic Sheet2


Haitians are often scared when they arrive to a hospital. The general chaos and lack of experience in healthcare environments heighten anxiety. The first goal of our project is to increase awareness of the healthcare service flow as well as reduce anxiety. The design functions around a central greenspace that allows for greater clean airflow throughout the site. The clarity in spatial organization as well as distinct nature of circulation paths will help to ease unnecessary fear or anxiety. 

Clinic Complex; visibility is important for order


Our collaboration with the nursing students has been intensely helpful if not fundamental in this project. Stasia was able to give us great critique and insight into different aspects of healthcare. We discussed alternative hosiptal models and methods. In our discussion we analyzed healthcare practices with a critical eye. Stasia told us about medical facilities in Jamaica and about some of her ideas for the healthcare model. Instead of a family making an appointment for one person, the family could come together, pay once, and have everybody looked at in one sitting. Haitians travel in families. We also discussed the social infrastructure of the culture; in lower income societies, family is not just a priority but a necessity. Families support each other and protect each other. Haitians show up to doctors' appointments with their entire family. We discussed how to cut down on costs by making use of the social structure and customs. Instead of having an individual hired on to cook and take care of people, the hospital should allow the family members to come and take care of the patient as they would at home. The patient could enjoy foods they are familiar with as well as enjoy the healing benefits of being taken care of by a loved one. The building should form around the culture. 

In its form, the clinic will function as a complex rather than a large imposing structure. This breaks up the clinic into smaller chunks of information that are easier to digest; Haitians are able to see where people are waiting, getting examined, picking up medicine, and leaving. This helps the Haitian to understand what to do as well as creates order (thus increasing security) in the space. Visibility is a huge part of the project for this reason. Patients should be able to easily understand what to do without literally being able to see into the exam rooms. 

Programming Schematic

Conversing with a professional architect was helpful; we discussed alternate methods for bringing in natural daylight into the space. We discussed different forms of toplighting and talked about cooling and thermal mass. Will the building be cooled and air cycled through the building at night?

Schematic Section 

Discussing our project with classmates and professionals at the Foundry allowed us to make great progress in our thinking. We are taking these ideas and pushing our design further. The program is shifting in order to accommodate better ventilation through the building. Efficient circulation and high visibility will determine the success of the program. 


Expansion to Eben-Ezer Clinic

Concept diagram and abstract


After further investigation, I have decided to adjust my two entries by emphasize a primary entryway in my site plan for the new court-yard clinic and visually shrinking the secondary entrance between the technical school and the original clinic structure. To accomplish this, I am adding more green space to scale down and narrow the secondary entrance. The design modification will create a defined, main entry and a separate green space for the classroom.


I am happy with my roof pitch, covered waiting area, and circulation.  The awing serves as a light shelf to reflect light into the interior spaces and also provides shade for circulation and patient waiting area.  The interior exam rooms have been arranged to take advantage of the light shelf and organized to eliminate glare.  The two separated roof pitches allow air to circulate through the spaces.