One rarely sees a new building when traveling through Haiti. While aid groups have tossed up temporary shelters in Port-au-Prince and outlying areas since the deadly January 2010 earthquake, ramshackle structures still dominate the impoverished country. Yet standing on the dusty fringe of Mirebalais, a town 37 miles north of Port-au-Prince, is a collection of handsome new buildings that comprise L’Ecole de Choix, or the School of Choice, which presently houses 200 students, from pre-kindergarteners through fourth-graders (expansion plans are in the works). Designed by a local firm in collaboration with a Chicago architect, the campus is a welcome sign
Headmaster Vivianne Vieux is clearly thrilled with the new addition to the free private school she runs in the coastal town of Jacmel. “It’s a piece of art,” the exuberant administrator exclaims, gesturing toward the 2,100-square-foot structure shaded by palm trees. “It’s beautiful!” Featuring natural elements such as stone and bamboo, the two-classroom building certainly stands apart from the average Haitian schoolhouse'uninspired structures made of concrete block. Completed in November 2011 and designed by Architecture for Humanity (AFH), the project exemplifies the nonprofit firm’s mission to create safe and dignified buildings for impoverished communities. “If you’re going to do a
Established after the 2011 disaster, the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative is giving students invaluable experience while also helping devastated communities. Photo courtesy MIT Last summer, a team of students and faculty members from MIT traveled to Minami-sanriku, Japan, to survey damage caused by the March 2011 tsunami. The trip was spawned by the MIT Japan 3/11 Initiative, a program launched after the Tohoku catastrophe. Click to view additional images. The $2,000 project is a “humble start,” says Kanda. “It is a seed for more to come.” Click to view additional images. Related Links: Extensive Coverage: Rebuilding Japan When a team
Photo courtesy Brian Snelson/Wikipedia In February, architects from around the globe will meet in Havana to discuss a master plan that aims to preserve the city’s rich cultural heritage. Related Link: New Film Celebrates an Unsung Icon of Modern Cuban Architecture For decades, Havana has charmed foreigners who visited the Caribbean city well-known for its sultry music, world-class cigars, and cacharros, the vintage American automobiles imported to the country prior to the 1959 revolution. The urban landscape is like few others: Located on Cuba’s northern coast, this city of 2.1 million people is endowed with a range of architectural styles,
At a time when many districts are tightening their belts, the green schools movement is gaining steam. We check in with administrators and architects, along with nonprofit groups that are stepping up to help.