Sylvo-Cité (Forest City): Project Abstract


This project aims to develop a timber based building system for Haiti. This aims to simultaneously
create a sustainable forestry urbanism as well as disseminating new skills in both timber construction as
well as tree ecology.
The objective is to bring together ecology and education in a city design for Haiti which cultivates,
studies, exports and uses sustainable timber to create a new timber based construction system for Haiti.
The past century saw the eradication of all but 2% of Haiti’s forests.1 This stopped Haitian selfdependence
of fuel source at the same time creating a landscape devoid of topsoil limiting agriculture and
destabilising the earth. A consequence of replantation is increasing the absorbency and stability of the
land. Therefore to maximise solutions I am locating the project North of Port au Prince on land slowly being
washed into the Caribbean.2 This area is also bounded by areas with the most social problems and joblessness,
in an attempt to embody as many solutions into the project as well these areas will provide initial
sources of labour.
The strategic location of Haiti on the crossroads of Caribbean shipping routes provides an opportunity
to export timber with added value. Not just in forestry but skills in manufacture will add value to surplus
timber and be designed for foreign earnings.
The project starts by developing timber building systems on the tectonic scale which can be evaluated
on easy build ability and relevance to the timber available on the island. To improve the ecology Forest
Gardening techniques are employed to generate a healthier forest ecology and open the potential of secondary
agricultural opportunities. Cultural needs and the generate demography of workers and families are
included into the forestry plantation life cycle and layout.
Attention is drawn to seismic architectural technology in any building system and the apparent
strength of vernacular Haitian architectural technology in the face of the 2010 earthquake. Haitian vernacular
architecture is an important starting point for the project.
Dissemination from the project can be a blueprint to find ways to regenerate local economies as well
as improving local ecologies in a sustainable way. Ecology and export are designed to employ and educate.
The project begins with looking at timber architecture at a tectonic scale as well as forestry plantations on
an infrastructural scale from this, education, ecology, export and employment form the sustainable basis for
the new Port au Prince Sylvo-Cité, (forest city).


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