Winner: Breathe House. An Anglo-American team won first place in a competition to design homes to fight the spread of TB in Haiti
One year after earthquake, five teams picked for dwellings designed to fight spread of TB
In the week that marked the first anniversary of the devastating Haiti earthquake, five winners of an international competition to find a housing type for the country that will actively prevent the spread of tuberculosis have been announced.
The competition – Kay e Sante nan Ayiti, or Housing & Health in Haiti – attracted 150 entries from multi-disciplinary teams all over the world, including architects, students, engineers and health professionals.
First place went to an Anglo-American team, including Arup engineer Ewan Smith, for its Breathe House design, with an American and Italian team ranked second and third respectively. Honourable mentions went to another US team, which was ranked fourth, and one from the Dominican Republic, which achieved fifth place.
The project is being run by Archive – Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments – a UK-based architectural charity that is trying to tackle the spread of TB in Haiti, which has the highest infection rate in the Americas.
In Haiti, it is working with members of the Aids community – who are seen as particularly vulnerable to TB – to understand how housing designs and interventions can make a difference among the most vulnerable.
The five prototype houses will be built in Saint-Marc, Haiti’s second city, which was at the epicentre of the cholera outbreak as it struggled to cope with the influx of refugees that saw its population triple after the earthquake.
Archive’s director Peter Williams praised the “diverse set of ideas” that had been submitted, which he said would bring “tremendous benefits”. He hoped the prototypes would act as an exemplar for sustainable, long-term housing across the developing world. He was also keen for the building project to be extended beyond the five winners.
“The project looks at the fact that Haiti presents one of the most dire sets of challenges in terms of needing to improve living conditions and health outcomes,” he said.
“For us it offered an opportunity for medium to long term development. We wanted to think beyond the need to provide immediate housing solutions and ask how housing could address the problems of an environment where infectious diseases such as TB are so prevalent.”
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