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. 

haiti_utk public blog index
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Tuesday
May082012

Reflecting on the Haiti experience

Looking back over the semester-long project, we realize what a great experience it has been! We knew from the beginning that we would be stepping outside of our normal realm of thought into another culture, another land, and another world. 

Our visit to Haiti was invaluable. It played a key element in understanding the culture and life of Haitian people. Surveying the site, visiting market, and interacting with community members gave us a more clear understanding of who we were designing for. Our greatest challenge was proposing schematic design to Joy and Jean Thomas before having been to Haiti to see the site first hand. None-the-less, we worked hard to create a holistic design and presented it to them in Haiti. Having them as a constant contact for the project was extremely helpful in our design process.

We felt humbled after our visit to Fond-des-Blancs and were even more eager to begin designing for the Haitian people. We wanted to connect with their thoughts, their fears, and use that to drive our design.  

One of the best parts about this project was the diversity in scale. We started off designing the entire site, including public gathering spaces, roadways, walk ways, etc. Once a site plan was finally worked out, we began designing individual houses. This led us to the smallest of details, including millwork drawings and material finishes. This range of scales allowed us to think on multiple levels of design. We had previously not thought holistically about site design.

Overall, the "Urban Alternative" Haiti experience was priceless to our education. It challenged us to immerse ourselves in a very unfamiliar culture and design for what they would see as attractive and valuable. As much of a challenge as it was, it was also a blessing. While we still have many years to continue learning design, this experience has aided in our education and overall wellbeing to become better designers and better people.

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