bonaventura visconti di modrone builds housing for haitian street children
bonaventura visconti di modrone builds housing for haitian street children bonaventura visconti di modrone builds housing for haitian street children
may 11, 2016

bonaventura visconti di modrone builds housing for haitian street children

bonaventura visconti di modrone builds housing for haitian street children
(above) aerial view of the complex
all images © marco cappelletti




between 2014 and 2015, right after graduating, italian architect bonaventura visconti di modrone was invited to anse-à-pitres, a small village in the sud-est department of haiti, to build a housing complex for ayitimoun yo, an N.G.O. that helps local street children. a meeting with the N.G.O founders fostered the idea of designing an anti-seismic building for the children, that could also serve as a resource to help them feel welcome and part of a family again.

kids playing in the free covered space in between the houses




the N.G.O wanted a space that would be easy to control, in which the children could sleep and carry out their daily activities. the children, on the other hand, would need different areas; an indoor space to share with their housemates; a veranda to do their homework and spend time with their close friends; a lateral big open space to share with all the others. this subdivision is important considering the fact that there are children of different age and background.


video courtesy of ABVM




since it was important for the building to fit within the local architectural context, two of its typical elements were adopted: the lakou settlement and the haitian rural house. the first is a traditional way of arranging the houses around a central courtyard; this was reinterpreted by placing the houses in a line and leaving a big open space between the buildings. the second is a simple and clean rectangular-shaped house, with an open veranda that is cheerfully decorated and covered with a pitched roof. in the haitian culture, the pitched roof especially means respect and acceptance, so it was included repeatedly, creating the characteristic shape of the uninterrupted cover.

the main open space between the first two houses where kids gather and play




the haitian climate is very hot and humid, so the roof structure is detached from the houses, allowing fresh air to breeze through and providing natural ventilation. some of the project details, such as the color of the bricks and of the concrete platform, were chosen directly by the children through workshops, helping them to personalise their future houses and strengthened their feeling of ownership. by investigating and reinterpreting the local architectural context they were able to design a building well integrated with the surroundings.

the houses are surrounded on all four sides by free space




the main issue faced during the construction was the organization of the logistics; many of the materials needed were brought in from the dominican republic, mainly in the capital city of santo domingo, which is a one-day trip from the construction site. furthermore, because of diplomatic issues between the two countries, it has been difficult to clear the goods through custom and transport them to the site. all the other materials and components were customized on-site by local craftsman. the decision to employ local workers and artisans exclusively led to the direct participation of the entire community and to the creation of a facility (site; place) that belongs to the area and to its architectural and cultural context.

view of the front verandas, private spaces that are dedicated to homework and other activities


the making of the bricks
video courtesy of ABVM

the inner spaces are painted in light blue to create a calm and relaxing atmosphere

kids playing in the second free open space

front view of the complex with kids playing in the main open spaces while others are doing their homework

if, needed the inner spaces can be used as classrooms too

rear view of the house

plan of the complex

the space has been divided to meet the kids psychological needs of different spaces



project info:


architect: bonaventura visconti di modrone location: anse-à-pitres, sur este, haiti
client: ayitimoun yo
typology: housing complex
cost: 60.000 euro
area: 400 m2
built by: bonaventura visconti di modrone with local workers
main sponsors: loro piana family, fonderia artistica battaglia, roomupstairs
photography: marco cappelletti



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: juliana neira | designboom

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