EBNet in Haiti - we won a prize!
The first BuildWell Symposium took place in January of 2010 - as it happened, very shortly after a large earthquake flattened much of Haiti and took about
250,000 lives. Many of us were determined to be of help, and out of BuildWell evolved an ad hoc group to address the question "How could Haiti rebuild if there were no imports from abroad?" That is, rather than import the usual panoply of "one-size-fits-all" prefabricated housing from well-meaning NGOs, how could Haiti use what it already has to get back up on its own feet?
That led to an unusual design charette in San Francisco involving architects, engineers, and builders from both the USA and Haiti, tied to other Haitian nationals in Boston and Port au Prince via web link. It quickly emerged that what Haiti had was a lot of unemployed people and a lot of concrete rubble. One solution was (to us) obvious: using simple, inexpensive, hand-operated machines, people could crush the rubble and turn it into new, low-carbon concrete blocks. Then they could assemble those blocks into traditional Haitian housing forms with bamboo trusses and our custom seismic isolation joints, made from reclaimed plastic bottles, to make new, safe homes in the traditional style.
The Clinton Foundation agreed, and named us as one of a few winners - out of hundreds of entries - in their Building Better Haiti" competion.
Use what you already have! Who knew?
For a copy of our winning submission click here.