Architecture in Haiti
The Architecture Department’s Haiti Project is a unique, multi-term course and applied experience focused on the programming, design, documentation, prototyping, and transfer of knowledge for the construction of a community center in rural Haiti. Offered in partnership with Haiti Tec in Port-au-Prince, the American University of the Caribbean in Les Cayes, and the Maison de Naissance in Torbeck, student participants on this program will not only learn how to design a building from conception through construction documentation, they will also learn valuable skills in cross-cultural communication, community building, global practice, natural building methods, and project management.
The principal on-site partner, Maison de Naissance, is a modern and culturally appropriate maternal health center in Torbeck, Haiti. The center provides a full suite of maternal health services and deliveries at little to no charge to impoverished women who would otherwise have no access to this care. Maison de Naissance is sponsored by Global Birthing Home Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit public charity based in Leawood, KS.
The Republic of Haiti is located on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. It occupies the western third of the island, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. With approximately 10 million inhabitants, Haiti is one of the most populated islands in the Caribbean. Torbeck, Haiti, the location of the demonstration site, is a rural community in southwest Haiti, approximately 130 miles from the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
The Haiti Project is comprised of several phases and components:
During the Fall 2017 semester, all students will enroll in the following required courses:
- ARCH 600 – The Haiti Project: Programming, Design, Documentation, and Prototyping (3 credits)
- HAIT 501 – Directed Studies in Haitian Culture (1 credit)
In addition, students are strongly encouraged to enroll in HAIT 110 – Elementary Haitian I (3 credits). While not required, this course will provide valuable language and cultural preparation enriching the experience and benefiting the project.
During the Winter Intersession, all students participating in the on-site Designbuild will enroll in the following course:
- ARCH 690 – The Haiti Experience: Knowledge Transfer and Designbuild (3 credits)
Students seeking to fulfill the study abroad requirement for the School of Architecture may enroll in an optional additional three credit hours, for a total of 6 credits during the Winter Intersession.
During the Spring 2018 semester, students wishing to maintain their engagement with the Haiti Project will enroll in:
- ARCH 600 – The Haiti Project: Construction Administration and Project Documentation (3 credits)
In Port-au-Prince, the group will stay in double and triple occupancy rooms in a local hotel, in close proximity to Haiti Tec. For the remainder of the program, students and faculty will be housed in the Business and Technology Institute (BTI) guesthouse in Les Cayes, approximately 7 miles from the demonstration site. Guesthouses are located on BTI’s secure campus, nestled by the sea near downtown Les Cayes. Breakfast and dinner are provided daily. Laundry service and wifi are also available in the guesthouses.
This program is open to the following students:
- Masters of Architecture students who have completed either ARCH 209 or ARCH 50
- Architectural Studies students who have completed third year
- Architectural Engineering students who have completed ARCH 200
- Design students who have completed third year and have drawing experience
Chad Kraus is an Associate Professor of Architecture and a licensed architect who teaches design studios, design build studios, and architectural theory at the University of Kansas. Prior to teaching, he worked for Shigeru Ban Architects.