On the Boards: A New Dawn - Ayiti Marmont Clinic

Schematic design is wrapping up on the Medical Clinic located in Marmont, Haiti that we are designing for Project Medi-Share. In recent weeks, we’ve taken an initial concept design provided through a charette with GW University students and members of the local architecture community led by OPX, and adapted it to a new site. Our process was thorough, with many layers of trace paper overlapped and covered in hand-sketched iterations drawn during our design meetings. We arrived at a courtyard scheme that features separate functions in individual, small buildings clustered around a central outdoor space. With some feedback from our collaborators, we are moving forward to complete schematic design.

One challenge, personally on this project, has been the odd experience of designing not only at a site I’ve never seen, but in a country I’ve never visited. It is certainly a good exercise in visualization. The other overall challenge is the critical importance of quality construction in a country, so recently ravaged by an earthquake, where building trades are not strictly regulated and rarely have the money or know-how for new construction technologies. This challenges us to think creatively about designing with simple materials and connections that will be familiar to local contractors and will also ensure the longevity of the structure. Those system and connection choices will be made in the coming weeks as we begin design development. All in all, it is an exciting project to take on and I look forward to visiting the site in Haiti soon!