Over the course of the thirteen days spent in Haiti, the Haiti Summer Studio 2014 group traveled to multiple locations and saw a wide range of urban and rural conditions. We arrived in Port-au-Prince on June 8th and remained in the city until June 11th. While in the capital we were able to visit the Université GOC administration building currently under construction, tour a digital learning center, enjoy lunch at a mountain top restaurant with spectacular views, and tour the city by bus and on foot. Our group also traveled to the new Université GOC campus outside of Port-au-Prince and spent an afternoon conversing, drawing, and learning with students studying architecture there. After our stay in the capital, the group departed on June 11th for the town of Petite-Rivière-de-Nippes, making a stop in Léogâne to visit a maternity hospital, Kay Fanm Yo, designed by U of I Professor Mark Taylor. We remained in Petite-Rivière-de-Nippes for six days and returned to Port-au-Prince on June 17th. During our stay in the coastal town we met with engineers, a group of pastors from the region surrounding the town, and the Mayor. Also during our stay, group members ate meals at the local solar bakery, spent time with Université GOC students, visited a fishing village in Miragoâne, experienced a street festival, and explored the core of the town and more rural farmlands on foot. The group absorbed and recorded the town through many hours of sketching, water color painting, systematically mapping and documenting the physical environment, and interacting with citizens.
Returning to Port-au-Prince on June 17th, we traveled to a mountain village in the Fonds-Verrettes Commune. After a few hours in four-wheel-drive vehicles, we were greeted by an entire schoolhouse full of children, and were introduced to local farming practices. After a lunch at their solar bakery, we returned to the Capital. June 19th was spent exploring street markets in Port-au-Prince and listening to a talk by Patrick Delatour, Howard University Alumnus, former minister of tourism, and now chair of the Haitian Presidential Commission for Reconstruction. A dinner discussion with Jason Krumm of MSAADA Architects followed Patrick Delatour’s presentation. Our last full day in Haiti was spent visiting the Iron Market of Port-au-Prince, and concluded with a farewell banquet with Université GOC students. The Haiti Summer Studio 2014 group departed Haiti on June 21st and returned to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Upon returning to campus students stopped to reflect on their individual and group experiences before beginning to analyze the information collected and launching into environmental planning and architectural design activities.