Earthquakes Dont Kill; Buildings Do: REBUILD HAITI

by Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity Haiti

The AFH team on the ground has again proved their dedication and motivation to help move the Haitian people toward a safer, more improved living condition and create sustainable livelihoods. Villa Rosa, in it 3rd phase, is moving smoothly. In partnership with Cordaid Haiti, construction has begun, the team is en charrette - see below.


Comings & Goings

Warm welcome new volunteers Yves Paul and Angie Tabrizi, our new Office Manager Marie Fransonnette Prussien, and embrace the return of the volunteer architect Katie Schalow.

Fond farwell to program manager, and all round rockstar Sandhya Naidu, who has been with Architecture for Humanity for nearly 4 years. Sandhya is pursuing another Masters, and we wish her luck. Similary, Frederique Siegel after little more than a year as a Design Fellow, is moving back home to finish her Masters. She will be missed.

Design Opportunities & Program Needs

Directeur, planification et conception - Construction Manager - Structural Engineer - Haiti Volunteer


Haiti Meet n Greet - Friday, July 27, 5:30 - 7:30
Sports and physical education provide the foundations necessary for the development and well-being of younger people in society and the educational system.  In disaster, soccer infrastructure becomes Haitian lifeline. Ernst (NONO) Jean Baptiste is invited to share with us the Misnirters of Sport's plan to provide education through sporsts.
Contact Rolande Augustin for more details.

Project Status Report

Haiti School Initiative
École Baptiste Bon Berger, Pele - Ph.1 CA 80%
École Elie Dubois - Ph.1 CA 80% - Ph.2 CD 80%
College Coeur Immacule de Marie (CIM) - SD 35%
École Argentine - SD 15%
Institut Foyer du Savoir
 - On Hold @ Ph.1 CA 24%
École Baptiste Bon Berger, Pele - 1% Ph.1 CA 20%
Academie Timoun (BAR Architects) - Ph.1 CA
CivicArt for Schools - Artwork under construction
CIM School - Schematic Design

Haiti Design Consultancy
Santo Community Development Plan - Ph.4 CD
Mme Joa Clinic - CA 90%
Haiti Partners Children's Academy (BAR Architects) - Ph.1 CA
Rural Mapping Initiative- CD 100%

CA Construction Administration; CD Construction Documents; DD Design Development; SD Schematic Design; PD Pre-Design - About the Phases

May 2012. As the conversations on the ground shift from "disaster relief" to "long-term recovery," we take a look at how our operations fit into the scheme. See the update below featuring our Program Coordinator for how the rest of 2012 and beyond will shape up for the Rebuilding Center. For Port-au-Prince residents, don't miss Leslie Voltaire's presentation at tonight's Meet n Greet (details below).


Upwards! Update on Elie Dubois and Pele schools - brought to you by Students Rebuild
Feature: Haitian transitions - catching up with our program coordinator, back at HQ after two months in Haiti

Comings & Goings

We welcome researcher Jessie Towell, and new HQ intern Cara Williams, and bid a fond farewell to volunteer Nazanin Merehgan, and the 2nd wave UMN students - thanks for your incredible work!

Design Opportunities & Program Needs

Directuer, Planification et conception - Development Director - Construction Manager - Structural Engineer - Haiti Volunteer

Haiti Meet n Greet - Friday, May 25, 5:30 - 7:30
One Third of Haiti lives in the urban sector of Haiti's Western Department (Ouest). A combination of exploding population and negative economic growth has led to urban migration, misuse of habitable spaces and the threat of hasty design responses. M Leslie VOLTAIRE, architect and urbanist, will present "Land Use and Community Planning."
Contact for more details.

Project Status Report - 24 May 2012

Haiti School Initiative
Institut Foyer du Savoir - On Hold @ Ph.1 CA 24%
École Baptiste Bon Berger, Pele
- 1% Ph.1 CA 20%
École Elie Dubois - Ph.1 CA 65% - Ph.2 CD 80%
Academie Timoun (BAR Architects) - Ph.1 CA
Civic Art for Schools - Artwork under construction
CIM School - Schematic Design

Haiti Design Consultancy
Santo Community Development Plan - Ph.4 CD
Villa Rosa - Ph.2 100% - Ph.3 25%
Mme Joa Clinic - CA 90%
Turbe Clinic - CA 100%
Rural Mapping Initiative - CD 85%

CA Construction Administration; CD Construction Documents; DD Design Development; SD Schematic Design; PD Pre-Design - About the Phases

Completed Projects

Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger - inaugurated 29 February 2012
Caravelle Clinic for MERLIN - opened 10 January 2012
Santo Community Development Plan - Ph.1 report released 17 Dec. 2011
J/P HRO Urgent Care Facility - opened 12 Dec. 2011
St. Louis de Gonzague Chemistry & Physics Building - completed 29 Nov. 2011
Ecole La Dignite - opened 07 Nov. 2011
J/P HRO École Bethesda - Phase 1 - completed 11 Oct. 2011
J/P HRO Klinik Kominote - Phase 1 - completed 09 Jun. 2011
École Ceverine - opened 12 Mar. 2011

Architecture for Humanity

March 2012: New house, new rules? The foreign contingent of the Haiti team has relocated to a new base-of-domestic-operations. It's given us an opportunity to reflect on how far we've come since our establishment, and look towards what's ahead, to when we move out. While the Rebuilding Center is transitioning to Haitian ownership/operation, our search to fill unique positions continues - as does the variety of work we're conducting. (Some old, familiar things, like our beloved cement mixer, can stick around.)


Comings & Goings
A very warm welcome (back) to the University of Minnesota crew who over the next 7 weeks will be plugging in to a variety of projects in the office. This builds on a very successful program last year and we're very excited to have them back. Particular thanks to Jim Lutz for making this happen again this year. The RBC also waved goodbye to Katharine MacLean and Marvine Pierre, but welcomes HQ all-star Sandhya for a longer stay than normal.

Design Opportunities & Program Needs
We are hiring. Currently we are looking for: Haiti Team Structural Engineer, Construction Manager, Development Director, Directeur/Planification et conception, Volunteers (starting May thru the fall)

Meet N Greet, March 30: "Has the Port-au-Prince housing problem changed since January 12, 2010?" presented by engineer Christian Rousseau at the Rebuilding Center, 5:30 - 7:30 PM. Contact Rolande Augustin for more information.

Project Status Report - 23 Mar 2012

Haiti School Initiative
Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger, Montrouis - Ph.1 CA 100%
Institut Foyer du Savoir - Ph.1 CA 24%
École Baptiste Bon Berger, Pele
- Ph.1 CA 20%
École Elie Dubois - Ph.1 CA 35% - Ph.2 CD 80%
Academie Timoun (BAR Architects) - Ph.1 CA
Civic Art for Schools - Artwork entering construciton

Design Consultancy
Santo Community Development Plan - Ph.4 CD 15%
Villa Rosa
- Ph.2 75%
Mme Joa Clinic - CA 90%
Turbe Clinic - CA 90%
Rural Mapping Initiative - CD 70%

CA Construction Administration; CD Construction Documents; DD Design Development; SD Schematic Design; PD Pre-Design - About the Phases

"There are many complicated things in building a school and this new building is beautiful. It is not a building, it is a work of art, and we did that. Thank you."
—Vivianne Vieux, headmistress, École la Dignité, Cayes Jacmel

It has been two years since an earthquake struck Haiti on January 12, 2010. Architecture for Humanity's Rebuilding Center in Port-au-Prince has supported the reconstruction effort through the reconstruction of schools, clinics, small businesses and long-term planning efforts. It's been a busy year. We wanted to thank you for your support and give you an update of our progress.

This year, the Rebuilding Center completed four schools and three clinics, inaugurating safer, stronger places for learning and healing. We assisted thousands of (mostly displaced) Haitians, and helped raise the bar for construction standards and design. Six more schools are in various phases of design and construction.

In planning, the Center recently completed the Santo Community Development master plan. Over several months, more than 150 members of a new mixed-use rural community directed the community's composition and confirmed its needs. The invaluable feedback from the charrettes coupled with some serious technical inputs generated a development blueprint (pdf) for rural projects across the country. The first phase of construction is currently under way with residents moving in min February. We're also helping several groups in mapping and early stage community planning in 2012 and we look forward to sharing these plans in the coming year.

We have also surveyed more than 400 businesses to identify small business owners in need of reconstruction assistance in active "economic corridors" in the metro Port-au-Prince region. The center working to partner with four local banks to help these small businesses rebuild. By rebuilding businesses in these key economic corridors, we are working to recover jobs and support Haiti's long-term economic development.

The professional outreach and training aspects of Bati Byen are working to address the challenges of a lack of building code enforcement and poor quality construction in Haiti. Burtland Granvil will be picking up where Stacey McMahan left off as our AIA USGBC Sustainability Design Fellow charged with helping improve construction standards. Bati Byen's mission to advocate for safer building has led to a consumer education initiative - including billboard and radio campaigns activating local resources and invitations to Haitian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other communities to seek design and construction referrals through the Rebuilding Center. We now have a constant stream of 2-3 visitors who stop by the Rebuilding Center each day seeking assistance. In addition to on-the-job training of construction professionals, this program hopes to build consumer awareness of the need for safe building.

Special thanks to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, Students Rebuild, the Stiller Foundation, Nvidia and Prudential and many others for their broad support of our projects and programs.

Our Impact

The impact metrics below reflect our work as of January 12, 2012.

  • The Rebuilding Center started with a staff of just 4, and is now staffed by 37 architects, engineers and support staff, including 7 long-term professional volunteers and 22 Haitian staffers.
  • Distributed Rebuilding 101 Manual to 5,000+ builders
  • Provided mason training and seismic construction training grant impacting 599 builders
  • Provided CAD/BIM training to 37 professionals
  • Hosted professional networking events in which 98 professionals participated
  • Schools completed: 4; schools in design and construction: 7 - impacting a total of 3,757 students
  • Hosted 69 visiting professionals (long-term and short-term)
  • Performed damage assessments of structures impacting 4,218 people
  • Designed camp improvements and upgrades impacting 25,000 people
  • Increased healthcare access to over 12,000 Haitians
  • Employed 1,858 Haitians on projects to date
  • Totaling 51,186 design and construction beneficiaries to date

Video Highlights

Architecture for Humanity:
Building Jobs

Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

Behind the Scenes: Diandine
Global Nomads Group
for Students Rebuild

Santo Housing Charrette:
July 14, 2011
David Gonzalez
for Architecture for Humanity

Architecture for Humanity and Save
the Children: Ceverine
Frederic King,
NYU Schack Institute for Real Estate

2011 Milestones

Students Rebuild enables stronger, safer schools to open

On the anniversary eve of Haiti's devastating earthquake, Haitian students are celebrating. That's because two new schools supporting 490 students have opened their doors, with three more schools to follow in the coming weeks. Students Rebuild is working with other partners to rebuild schools...with one major difference: the initiative is entirely youth-powered.

More than 1,880 middle and highschoolers worldwide have connected with peers in Haiti and helped raise $650,000 to rebuild Haiti schools. The program included a year-long curriculum and series of Interactive Video conferences between participating Students Rebuild teams and classes from the partnering Haiti schools.

Students Rebuild is a collaborative initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation, Global Nomads Group, Architecture for Humanity and others. Learn more.

Download the Haiti Schools Initiative Report (PDF)
Watch A Story of Youth in Action documenting the past year with Diandine, Stacey McMahan and thousands of young humanitarians

Construction Outreach Supervisor Program

The Construction Outreach Supervisor Program brings Haitian engineers in direct and managerial contact with construction to international standards. The Outreach team, based at the Rebuilding Center, travels to job sites to audit construction practices and techniques, providing advice and verifying quality as needed.

The program has been responsible for the safe and timely completion of Architecture for Humanity’s Haiti School Initiative projects. The Rebuilding Center intends to expand outreach to other architectural projects as they enter construction, develop an accreditation system and begin inspecting unaffiliated construction sites on a consultation basis.

Helping Small Businesses

The economic development agency conducted by the Rebuilding Center is currently aimed at the recovery of key economic corridors via urban acupuncture, traffic management, debris removal, and rebuilding small-to-medium enterprises by assisting them to access construction financing in partnership with local banks. Corridor mapping specifically identifies businesses, business types (both pre-quake and post-quake), and the varying rates of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

Responding to the threat of economic dead zones and foreign dependency, Architecture for Humanity partnered with ShoreBank International to engage local banks and encourage small business lending. The Rebuilding Center aims to assist local banks with construction oversight and make sure that businesses rebuilt are structurally sound and reduce the risk of loss in the event of future disasters. A short-term pilot for construction financing is in development.

Download Corridors report (pdf) for more information

Rubble Crushing Business Incubator

The rubble crushing business incubator will accelerate development on infill sites for projects across and beyond Port-au-Prince by making rubble a viable and profitable material for site infill. Funding from the Curry Stone Foundation enabled the purchase of rubble crushers to set up businesses. The Center has "road tested" the crushers and is training Haitians in-house to establish small rubble crushing businesses. Crushing is time consuming and labor intensive. It requires tremendous lead time. Making these crushers more suitable for smaller-scale projects. We're looking forward to refining this pilot program at future sites.

Civic Art for Haiti Schools

The earthquake had as devastating an impact on the culture of Haiti as it did on its buildings, streets and lives. There is now the risk that as Haiti rebuilds, much of her culture is forgotten as art and artists are foregone in favor of more utilitarian responses. The Civic Art in Haitian Schools program aims to engage schools as a staging area for civic art installations and facilitate interaction between communities unfamiliar with commissioning civic art and artists unused to working on commission.

Since the Request for Qualifications launch in June 2011, the Rebuilding Center has received enthusiastic engagement from school owners and dozens of portfolios from Haitian artists. A panel of judges consisting of Haitian artist peers, school owners and members of the Rebuilding Center evaluated identified a shortlist-artists that were then led on site visits of participating schools. The artists are now working on their commissioned pieces; fabrication will commence in February with openings expected later this Spring.

Many kind thanks to both Digicel Foundation and Deutsche Bank for supporting this wonderful initiative. Learn more and view artist portfolios.

Academie Timoun with BAR Architects

In 2010, Architecture for Humanity invited San Francisco-based BAR Architects to lead the design and documentation of Academie Timoun, a new rural primary school for 250 children. The result was a unique collaboration, employing decades of collective experience, office-wide participation and top expertise at every stage of design.

After six months of active participation, construction documents were finalized. Work is now proceeding on the first classroom block. We see a lot of potential for similar collaborations in the future. Many profound thanks to everyone at BAR for their dedication, ingenuity and resourcefulness. We have loved having your staff here with us in Haiti.

Monitoring and Evaluation

A monitoring and evaluation system has been established, in collaboration with third party consultants Associates for International Management Services, to better track our projects.

Fourteen Haitians were trained to conduct surveys – a much-needed skill for a place where data and statistics are lacking. We're looking forward to tracking our long-term impact and thank AIMS for their invaluable assistance.

Construction Training in Haiti
Construction Training in Haiti

The Haiti Schools were all abuzz the fist week of November, however one will soon be flying solo, with others soon following suit: Dignité officially opened November 7 and Montrouis is scheduled for completion before the New Year. Between these and ambitious activity on the other school sites, construction techniques and training continue to be refined and we simply can't wait to see what the future has in store for the next generation of Haitian architecture!

École La Dignité -The Dignité extension celebrated its grand opening on Monday! Everything's finished and, after the school cleans up after its numerous guests, the rooms will be occupied by the eldest students at the school. School headmistress Vivianne Vieux is excited to expand the impact of her school to older students, and couldn't be happier with the buildings that Students Rebuild has funded! Read more about the ceremony and the school.

Visitors try out the benches forming an outdoor meeting space created by Dignité's new classrooms

Opening Ceremony: Visitors try out the benches forming an outdoor meeting space created by Dignité's new classrooms

École Elie Dubois - It's all about groundwork this month at Elie. Foundation work has begun on the cafeteria at the back of the site, with construction progressing towards the gates to make coordination easier. Pipework is being designed for the schools drainage and waste systems, and the hole for the giant bio digester has been excavated–it's ten feet deep! Meanwhile our architectural engineer Rick Ehlert and new design fellow Natalie Desrosiers are conducting reinforced concrete training sessions for the Elie construction crew. Also, discussions are ongoing with the preservation authority ISPAN regarding retrofits to Building One–including location and materials of porch and stairs which will need structural revisions.

Engineer Rick Ehlert and Design Fellow Natalie Desrosiers (seated) conduct construction training classes on site at Elie Dubois

Engineer Rick Ehlert and Design Fellow Natalie Desrosiers (both seated) conduct construction training classes on site at Elie Dubois

Collège Mixte Le Bon Berger, Montrouis - The second floor has topped out and steel and formwork are being prepared for the ring beam to top the walls and tie them all together. Steel trusses are also being welded for the roof–an exploration into our team specifying different materials from the wood trusses used in Dignité. The benefits include working with a more available construction material, and operational changes include tying metal plates into the ring beam pour for spot welding other welding happening on-site. Meanwhile, the first floor is being coated in the traditional Haitian cement-based crepissage plaster, and construction has begun on the handicap ramp.

Crepissage coating is being applied to the ground floor of Montrouis

Crepissage coating is being applied to the ground floor of Montrouis

École Baptiste Bon Berger, Pele - The perimeter wall has been replaced and foundations have been dug for the phase 1 buildings...and keep filling with water! Also the construction crew can now set to work crushing rubble from the old classrooms, as soon as they assemble the delivered rubble crushers.
  Rubble crushers arrive on site...with some assembly required!

Rubble crushers arrive on site...with some assembly required!

Institut Foyer du Savoir - The team has worked out the contract problems with the school owner, and construction can proceed on the Home of Knowledge!

Deep foundations needed on site.



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Organization Information

Architecture for Humanity

Location: San Francisco, CA - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Architecture for Humanity
Project Leader:
Cameron Sinclair
Co-Founder and Executive Director
San Francisco, CA United States

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