A 'Timoun' Future

A 'Timoun' Future

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Aug 25, 2011
  • comments

Group high five. FREEZE FRAME on group in mid-air. FADE OUT. ...Or rather, "the BOQs are being finalized and the last of the drawing set is being printed."

Either way you care to look at it, the design and documentation for Academie Timoun ("Children's Academy") with Haiti Partners has wrapped, concluding a decidedly very successful eight-month Office Fellowhship with BAR Architects. It's a great feeling to have the final drawings in your hands, and it's time to project the next steps.

"The set for Phase One is 47 sheets," reports Will Spurzem, the last member of the BAR professional daisy chain. "The bill of quantities ("BOQs") will be broken down into sections: 2 Story Building/Latrine Building/Site Features 1A/Site Features 1B/Lower Level interior options/Perimeter Walls. This will allow the contractor to create a price per building, per phase, as well as interior work on the lower levels.... All of this documentation will ultimately help the client and the Construction Manager to negotiate cost, phases, and contracts with more authority."

BAR's design is ambitious, but through the rigorous exercises of drafting the construction set and calculating the bill of quantities–and consultation with resident engineer Rick Ehlert throughout development–the project becomes realizable. Will discusses how they've achieved the balance of beauty and achievability:

"The actual shell is relatively simple to build with the right contractor and proper oversight. We have put in a lot of time researching and confirming the size of available materials and made the structure very modular."

The campus plan employs eight two-classroom modules-a very manageable unit size, in which to employ prudence. Here "the major issue of funding comes into play. We have done a master plan…which is quite large. Phasing will be a key issue."

From top: site visit with Jeremy and John Engle; site plan; materials precedents; erosion control mark-ups; Will and Thomas disagree during their handoff; foundation details

So what happens when you donate three weeks to working in an developing nation? Will shares some professional takeaways from Haiti. "Learning while you go is a very exciting process that requires a critical and careful approach to design," he explains. "It is easy to lose sight of the two major issues for clients, which are scope and complexity. The building could be wonderful but be too large or too complex to finish."

Will, BAR and Haiti Partners are all too aware of the financial considerations for building in Haiti, and have chosen a path whereupon funding and construction can happen simultaneously, if need be.

Meanwhile, the architects can hardly contain their excitement. "This has been a wonderful project and everyone is excited to see this work go out to bid as soon as possible/" Architecture for Humanity will take on the search for the right contractor over the next month; groundbreaking for the Academie Timoun is slated for Sunday, September 25.

We're learning from BAR as they learn from us. Catching up on 8 months of Design Fellowing is easy as BAR has maintained a blog of their progress and experiences for the duration of their time in Haiti. A full record of the Office Fellowship experience is just a Tumblr address away: http://bararchitects.tumblr.com/