haiti prototype by cal earth institute haiti prototype by cal earth institute
jul 26, 2010

haiti prototype by cal earth institute

haiti prototype shelters near completion – apprentices applying mud over the sandbags all images courtesy of the california institute of earth art and architecture

to provide relief of the recent devastation in haiti members of the california institute of earth art and architecture (cal earth) visited the county in march to discuss the role they could have in the reconstruction effort.

the domes complete with sandbags

the importance of building the semi‐permanent/permanent structure was to calculate the time needed for training unskilled workers, the amount of materials necessary, and the overall cost of a structure. the structure, consists of a 10 ft. main dome surrounded by 3 apses (a 7 ft. sleeping apse, a 5 ft. fire cooking apse with storage below, and a 5 ft. apse that can be used for storage or as a sleeping area for small children) was designed to house six people comfortably. special considerations were made for the heavy rainfall and high winds during the hurricane season, and the issue of securing the structure from outside intruders.

the domes complete with sandbags

the construction which started at the beginning of april, was completed by spanish apprentices under the supervision of two long term apprentices of the institue. with no prior training as well as a language barrier, the spaniards trained for 3 days upon arrival, and then began working on the structure. from laying the footprint to applying the plaster, they worked a total of 15 days.  

the beginning stages of construction

the cost of the structure, including superadobe rolls, barbed wire, cement, waterproofing materials, basic building tools, windows, and a door with a lock, came to under 3000 USD. there will be a few additional costs including the installation of the chimney as well as some paint for interior finish, but the most important thing was to determine the cost of the actual shelter.

sketch of the domes

sketch of the floor plan

cal earth is a non profit foundation at the cutting edge of earth and ceramic architecture technologies today. founded in 1986 by its director, nader khalili (1936-2008), its scope spans technical innovations published by nasa for lunar and martian construction, to housing design and development for the world’s homeless for the united nations.

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