Sylvo Cité: Ordered, yet informal

 

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 forestry ecology.
This will bring together ecology and education in a city design for Haiti which cultivates, studies, and
uses sustainable bamboo to create a new localised bamboo based construction system. Building typology
is based around Haitian vernacular ‘Lakou’1 residential typologies, built from bamboo, integrated into plantations
where plantation ownership is in the hands of local residents.
The past century saw the eradication of all but 2% of Haiti’s forests.2 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.3 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 use of bamboo derives from research showing the durability of bamboo to grow in Haiti’s climate
as well the speed of growth, ease of working and combined strength and flexibility.
The project starts by developing a localised bamboo plantation within Port-au-Prince. Building
systems on the tectonic scale are evaluated on easy build ability. To improve the ecology Forest Gardening
techniques are employed to generate a healthier forest ecology and open the potential of secondary agricultural
opportunities.
The typology of building is the ‘Lakou’4, or ‘courtyard dwelling’. Here four to five families live in close
proximity, sharing utilities and fostering cooperation and therefore efficiency and a lower carbon footprint.
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
timber based construction systems are 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.

 

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