HAITI ANTHROPOLOGY + EXPERIMENTAL BAMBOO RESEARCH

 

 

At the local time of 16:53 on 12th January 2010 an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 (and 0.5g PGA), hit one of the most densely populated suburbs of Haiti's capital, Port au Prince. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake. 250,000 residences, 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed, a million people homeless and 316,000 people dead. One month later an earthquake 500 times more powerful, hit central Chile resulting in the deaths of 525. The earthquake of 2010, was a disaster of Haiti's lack of lightweight building materials, working practices, and construction, not nature.

 

Project Title = "Kay = Flote Ansanm (House = Above Together)

 

Location = Port-A-Prince, Murmalaude

 

Currently, 1.4% is all that remains of Haiti’s forests. This ecological disaster has destroyed rural economies, and has removed lightweight timbers from the Haitian construction sector, the consequences of which were seen in the disproportionate devastation of the 2010 earthquake. The fast growing material of bamboo is being increasingly seen as a solution for not just binding the exposed, and eroded hillsides, but also can create new socio-ecomocmic relations, as a source of low cost, lightweight, and flexible material for construction.

 

Design Issue = Many factors inhibit bamboo, and other lightweight domestically grown sustainable materials from proliferating construction industries in the developing world. These include a lack of construction knowledge being widely available, and a lack of material since many developing countries suffer from massive deforestation. In much of the developing world materials such as timber, and bamboo are especially perceived as having connotations of poverty, and representing the rural life in which much of the developing world’s populations have escaped from. These are then substituted for concrete, and steel rebar in an effort to promote a ‘modern’ aesthetic, however with low rates of literacy, and skilled engineering input, these buildings are often very precariously engineered, climatically intolerable, incompetently built, and extremely carbon intensive. Not to mention that in areas of hurricane, and seismic vulnerability, these structures are at best totally inadequate, and at worst deadly. This concrete 21st Century developing world vernacular does not just burden a family budget on a macro level, but often the materials must be imported from more developed economies maintaining a post-colonial strangle hold on an international level. This design research aims to find solutions to these issues with bamboo as the potential change agent for architectural construction in Haiti.

 

This design function aims to use computation as a component to be merged with local building traditions and the material systems available in that given environment as the basis for creating spaces that become alive with cultural use and economic or family growth.

 

Design Components = Emergency Modular Design, Urban Security Design, Market Metabolisms, Bamboo , Social Architecture, Anthropology Research

 

Design Team = Yussef Agbo-Ola

                          Jean Whitney Lordeus

                          Anthoula Marilyn Tsagkataki

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