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

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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. 

Entries in Christian Powers (2)


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. 


BlueCore | Backcountry Medical Response

 watercolor diagram of pack; transparency showing insert

BlueCore reaches the areas where no other response teams can go. BlueCore is an emergency response system designed in reaction to the Haitian earthquake crisis of 2010. A team of backpacking doctors and nurses heads out into rural areas to set up temporary camps and provide medical relief to doctors. Doctors carry easily-recognizable hybrid backpacks that contain emergency medical supplies and enough gear for the team to stay up to 5 days. 

BlueCore team members travel in with gear on a vehicle to remote urban areas. From these areast he members set out on foot to isolated rural areas for a multiple-day backpacking excursion. Team members arrive at their location and set up camp for five days where they will assist Haitians with basic medical needs such as minor wounds, GI issues, ulcers, cleanliness and sanitation. The backpack is also able to carry surgical equipment. 

modeled diagram of pack insert; exploded axon

The BlueCore crossover packs are the foundation of the system. Inspired by the efficiency of military gear and the ergonomics of backcountry gear, the hybrid packs have a specialized compartment at the core that houses a removable cylindrical insert containing medical equipment. This removable nested core is a compressible compartmentalized tower that zips apart into smaller segments so that doctors and nurses can work faster and more flexibly under pressure. All BlueCore gear packs out just as easily as it packs in; storage zones within the pack as well as latch points outside the pack allow for an easy trip out. 

The process of coming up with the idea of BlueCore crossover pack was extremely fun and interactive. The Haiti studio is a highly collaborative studio that works together to blast through complex problems in order to generate and identify creative design solutions. The process began by strategically mapping out important issues surrounding the situation in Haiti. As we mapped out our ideas we were able to come up with solutions. Groups presented both in small groups and as a whole to critique ideas and brainstorm together. BlueCore backpacking system is based on a fact that resonated with us after a presentation from the nursing department. Part of the presentation displays text messages from Haitians after the earthquake in remote areas that are asking if others know if they are alive. This resonated with us; we set out to create a system that can go through rough terrain to reach people in remote areas and get help to them. BlueCore is based on ergonomic and ultra-lightweight backpacking gear as well as the masterfully-compartmentalized military medic bags.