Students, Faculty to Continue Design-Build Projects in Haiti During May Trip

Students and faculty from the College of Architecture and Design head to Haiti next week to continue work on design-build projects, including a guidebook that will address the urgent need for adequate building standards in the country.

The book, LIFEHouse, will emphasize the lesser-known relationship between housing design and disease prevention.

The UT Haiti Project team will be in the country May 29 to June 1.

“With a focus on health and well-being, LIFEHouse offers a broader awareness of how adhering to adequate building standards can lead to safer homes and an overall improved quality of life,” said Susan Tarovella, a UT research editor working on the Haiti Project. “The book is designed to be used by the everyday Haitian citizen all the way to an international aid group coming in to help set up temporary or permanent housing.”

The book will be translated into French, English, and Creole, and will be heavily visual to accommodate the low literacy rate in Haiti. It will showcase how Haitians can build secure and healthy homes using local materials and methods.

Jean Thomas, a Haitian developer and community leader, will facilitate development of a test house using the recommendations in LIFEHouse for a Haitian family. The UT Haiti Project team will discuss the project with Thomas during their visit.

The book is one of many design-build efforts of the Haiti Project, an initiative launched in response to the massive earthquake that rocked the island nation in 2010. UT has designed a secondary school, a master planning guide, housing, and medical facilities for two communities in Haiti.

The Haiti Project team will also discuss plan for its continuing work with the L’Exode Secondary School in Fond-des-Blancs. During the first phase, students designed the school and the local community built ten classrooms, a dining hall facility, and two sets of restrooms. The second phase will begin soon and include a multipurpose building with administration offices, a library, a dormitory building, and sport facilities. All work to the school is expected to be completed by 2020.

These additions will accompany new LED lighting and electricity to the campus, which will be run off an array of solar panels that was previously donated to the school by UT. The donation of the solar array was arranged by James Rose, the faculty lead on the UT Living Light solar house.

“There is no electrical power available in the community except through generators, which is quite expensive.” Joleen Darragh, a UT architecture lecturer and Haiti Project team member, said. “The solar array is on the site and operational. It will power the lights for the school and the kitchen heating in the cafeteria.”

A new entrance to the school will also be installed this summer. The gate design was envisioned three years ago by Haiti Project leader John McRae, a UT professor of architecture and former dean of the college. It is being implemented through the work of Daniel Cremin, a fifth-year architecture student, and Preston Farabow, a Knoxville metal artisan.

Nearly sixty students across campus have been involved in the Haiti Project in its four-and-a-half years of existence. Based on an immersive multidisciplinary design studio course, the Haiti Project tackles new design-build solutions each semester. Using the expertise of practicing designers and architects on the faculty and the ingenuity and research of students, the Haiti Project is helping to shape the quality of life in Haiti one initiative at a time. The fall 2014 studio project will focus on child care and nutrition research and facilities.

Learn more about the Haiti Project via its UT Impact Big Ideas page or the College of Architecture and Design website.

C O N T A C T:

Kiki Roeder (865-974-6713, kroeder@utk.edu)

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993, lola.alapo@tennessee.edu)

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