Architects create the spaces that we inhabit. I sit here inhabiting a second floor balcony at Maison Blanche, a guest house in Delmas, Haiti. Delmas is a suburb of Port au Prince, east and slightly north of the city. To my left, with views to the west and the bay of Port au Prince in the horizon, sits my colleague Stefan Schwarzkopf. Day is giving way to night. The sun dances on the water and dusk covers the city creating a sense of calm. This is Haiti, however, and underneath this façade is chaos.
From my vantage point Stefan is busy at his computer revising drawings of a housing prototype we’ve designed for a planned community in Zoranger, 30 minutes north of downtown Port-au-Prince. Bodies will one day inhabit the bricks and mortar, or more precisely structural concrete insulated panels, we’re orchestrating with our computer generated drawings. As I look east there are the remains of a concrete block structure. The roof porous but for tarps stamped
. People have gathered in the space provided to pray. Church hymns fill the early evening. The spirit of Haitians has survived. Keep going east along the dirt road and a banner spans your path.
INSTITUT DES PHILOSOPHES
Within the course of 100 meters the body, soul, and mind have come together.