Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti in January 2010, a unique collaboration developed between BAR Architects, Architecture for Humanity and Haiti Partners to design and build a 450-student pre-K – 13 school on a three-acre site near Mariaman in the hills outside Port-au-Prince.
BAR‘s internal response to the disaster in Haiti resulted in nearly three-quarters of our staff volunteering in some capacity, relinquishing vacation time as well as donating unpaid work hours to the cause. A small team of architects and designers spent six months of non-billable time working in rotating teams on-site in Haiti. The rough-terrain site occupies an undeveloped part of Haiti, 2,500 feet above sea level with no existing infrastructure for water, electricity, sewage or transportation in the area. As a result, the new school is entirely off the grid and self-sustaining. Plans included solar power, rainwater collection for irrigation, a local well for potable water, and composting toilets for waste. Structures are built of local limestone and reinforced cinder block; all work was done by Haitian contractors with supervision from Architecture for Humanity.
The new school serves as a resource center for the local community, a center for teacher training and a model school for other Haitian communities. The first phase, serving pre-K through first grade, was completed in 2013. Approximately 120 pre-K through first grade students now attend the school.