It has been quite the week thus far. Yesterday morning we had our first design review in the office. It is quite an interesting system that Architecture for Humanity has; they essentially go through each project in a sort of “rapid-fire” way and quickly make decisions about deliverables for the coming week. We’ll be finalizing our plans and massing for next Friday. Tonight we are meeting with Stacey (our Design Lead) to discuss our options and visions for the Orphanage. We will be going back to the site to meet with the clients and show them our first options on Wednesday. It’s a very exciting time to be working right now. Today is our first real day off and we’ll be sure to make the best of it!
Today Abby and I visited the Orphanage and gained our first (and lasting) impressions of our project for the next ~ 6 weeks. Meeting the director (Frantz), his mother and a health care worker who is volunteering there (Sarah) was a truly humbling experience. This project is truly centered around the term “survivors”. After the earthquake, the existing building was completely demolished. Mama Bastien stayed on the site and tended to the children; without shelter, without aid and underneath a lone tree on the site. Since then, there has been donation of transitional shelters, tarps and some “permanent” structures. The spirit of the children is what truly has astonished me; they are quite possibly the happiest children I have ever encountered and considering their situation, it is truly amazing.
We are eager to begin on this project as quickly as possible so we dove in to programmatic issues right away. The needs and desires of the Orphanage are rather small but, they will be exceeded by the work we do (hopefully). The Orphanage currently houses 45 children with 15 children coming throughout the day for schooling and other services (meals, etc.). The current site is rather small (about 2700sf) and very compact. Abby and I will begin initial planning exercises tomorrow.
Here is the project I will be working on with my good friend Abby Kurlinkus. Much, much more to follow.
- 3 years ago
Well, we’re here safely and soundly. Being in this country is a rather surreal experience and to try to put it into words would be doing a disservice. The images that we see on television and the newspapers really can’t do justice to what is actually happening in Haiti. Yes, there is devastation in some parts and yes, there is poverty and miserable living conditions in some parts but, the Haitian spirit is definitely still alive. The culture of the country seems quite vibrant and that gives me a reason for hope. Tonight we had our first of many meetings to plan projects and coordination for our efforts here. It will be a very fruitful experience and something totally new for me (which I am ready for). The work days are going to be varied and fluid, much like the entire structure of this country in itself. I am looking forward to sharing my experience with all of you.
I feel like this is an appropriate way to begin a personal blog; being on the eve of embarking on one of the greatest journeys of my life. I (as well as 5 of my esteemed colleagues and our indomitable leader) will be in Haiti as of tomorrow evening.