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Rebuilding Haiti

Haiti Housing Designs to be Unveiled This Month

January 11, 2011

By C. J. Hughes

 

The competition drew 400 proposed designs, including this one by New York architect Rodney Leon.
Image courtesy Rodney Leon Architects

The competition drew 400 proposed designs, including this one by New York architect Rodney Leon.

 

After notable delays, the winners of the “Building Back Better Communities” competition, a Haitian government-sponsored initiative to generate housing solutions for the earthquake-ravaged country, will finally unveil their ideas.

This month, one year after the 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck, 150 teams representing designers, manufacturers, and builders from around the world are expected to converge in Port-au-Prince for a four-day conference at which they will present renderings to government officials and the general public. The event is scheduled for January 31 to February 3.

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The competition, which attracted 400 submissions when announced last summer, was organized by John McAslan + Partners, a London-based design firm, along with the Clinton Foundation, the World Bank, and Architecture for Humanity.

The conference is just a prelude to the main event, an expo slated for May, which will feature small-scale prototypes of the winners’ designs built on the northern half of a 12-acre former sugar plantation. At the expo, representatives from nonprofit organizations and development groups will shop among the various designs and possibly commission architects to reproduce them, says architect John McAslan.

Next November, the best designs will be constructed at full size on the southern half of the plantation site, for a permanent village, McAslan adds. But details are still murky, given the chaos that ensued after Haiti’s disputed elections. Those same elections initially forced the delay of the expo, pushing it from October 2010 into 2011.

The January 12 quake destroyed 200,000 homes. Since then, about 18,000 replacements have been built, according to relief workers, but 1.5 million people reportedly are still homeless.

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