UN Agency Starts Construction on 16/6 Pilot Project in Morne Hercule - Haiti
by Lizzie Blaisdell
Degenkolb Engineers has been providing structural assistance to the UN Agency 16/6 Housing Reconstruction Pilot project in the neighborhood of Morne Hercule near Petionville, Haiti over the last few month. The 16/6 project brings together multiple organizations with the aim to rehabilitate 16 neighborhoods in the Port-au-Prince/Delmas/Petionville area in order to provide housing for approximately 5,000 households that were displaced due to the January 2010 earthquake and had since been living in 6 tent camps in the area. The Morne Hercule site is comprised of 19 new homes with basic services and public space; it will serve as a pilot project to validate the approach to take in housing reconstruction going forward.
In early July, Mark Sinclair worked with the architects, urban planners and engineers at a UN agency involved with the project to help develop and select the structural system that would be used in this pilot project as well as layout preliminary building configurations. Abe Lynn was also involved in the early phases, providing schematic designs for the retaining walls – which are much needed on the sloping site in Morne Hercule. Throughout the end of July and August, I worked side-by-side with the engineers and architects at the agency to further develop the building and retaining wall designs for the Morne Hercule site. In addition to the architectural drawings, the agency also provided drainage,sanitary and electrical plans for the site.
The site in Morne Hercule is sloping and so the houses were designed to be entered at the ground floor in the front of the building and at the second floor in the back of the building. The homes are typically two stories tall and rectangular or L-shaped. The scheme is intended to facilitate the leasing of space by the owner in the future. For example, the second level could be closed off from below and rented out, or the wing that forms the leg of the "L" could also be closed off and rented. This would densify the area and allow for more families to have homes to live in, as well as provide income to the home owner.
Recently, the UN agency we are working with has started construction on these 19 new homes, beginning first with the foundations and retaining walls. Most of retaining walls on site will also serve as ground-floor walls in the homes as the buildings terrace up the site. It is a very active site, with engineers from the agency on-site almost full time to provide observation and supervision. Stacy Bartoletti, Degenkolb's CEO and President, visited the site in early September as part of his trip to observe Degenkolb's ongoing work in Haiti. During Stacy's visit, retaining walls and foundations for several homes were being constructed.
Photo A (below) - Existing shelters located where new home is to be constructed.
Photo B (below) - Shelters removed and site preparation is begun. (Existing adjacent house is painted beige.)
Photo C (below) - Retaining wall constructed to provide a platform for the new home.
Photo D (below) - Foundations for the new home are complete and wall construction is underway.
Photo E (below) - Ground floor walls are constructed and second floor slab is being poured.
Walking down to the first building construction site. A concrete pour (transported in buckets) is in process…
At the construction site, foundations and retaining wall for the first building