Decoding Design

USGBC, HOK partner to build LEED orphanage in Port au Prince

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The U.S. Green Building Council and HOK Architects plan to build a LEED Platinum orphanage and children's center in Haiti's capital city of Port au Prince.

Today marks the two year anniversary of the earthquake that ravaged Haiti. In their support of the people who endured catastrophic suffering, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and HOK Architects, the pro-bono design partner, have planned to build a LEED Platinum orphanage and children's center in the capital city of Port au Prince.

Project Haiti, as it is called, is "about a replicable, resilient model for rebuilding" says the USGBC. The facility will provide a safe and healthy environment for the children of the Fondation Enfant Jesus, a non-government and non-denominational orphanage as part of the Clinton Global Initiative. As an LEED Platinum building, it will incorporate renewable energy, water treatment and waste processing strategies.

The building is currently in its final stages of design: a three-story L-shaped structure is organized around a central courtyard. The building will face east to protect it from the strong easterly trade wind, and will include on the property kitchen, dining and training spaces.

The design is such that building systems will require minimal maintenance and will be totally independent from Port au Prince's unreliable grid. Any excess energy will be used to power the surrounding street lights and for public charging stations on the street.

The building will feature a closed-loop waste system that will treat waste and provide gas for cooking, and all water will be collected, sanitized and stored on site.

Other green space and a solar energy system will be found on the roof, as part of the roof-top gardens.  Additionally,  ironwork, murals, woodwork and other local materials will be used in the project.

"There are hundreds of thousands of orphans living in Haiti. Project Haiti will tell many of these children for the first time in their lives they are valued, they deserve to breathe clean air, they have the right to live in comfort and they are cared about - just like any other child, in any other place in the world. It will provide for the immediate health and emotional needs of orphans and offer a pathway to adoption."

Project Haiti is more than half way to its goal of $1 million in donations.  Click here to learn more about the project or to donate.

[via Arch Daily]

Images: Project Haiti

Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure