Lunch and Learn: Haiti Update with Design Fellow Karl Johnson

Lunch and Learn: Haiti Update with Design Fellow Karl Johnson

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Sep 01, 2010
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Design Fellow Karl Johnson recently returned from a three-week site visit in Haiti. While there, he worked with the rebuilding team to assess schools and check out potential sites. At today's Lunch and Learn Karl told us about his trip and showed us images from the ground.

The 'Maison du Architecture,' where the staff and volunteers stay, is situated outside of Port au Prince. It's cozy but missing certain creature comforts, i.e. all clothes washing is done by hand. There’s a goat and plans for an edible garden. Karl then showed us an image of people in Port au Prince selling charcoal. He says there's a deforestation problem in Haiti - one of many problems for which the country is looking for a solution. Hand-painted signs proliferate in Port au Prince. Karl says there's acute attention to detail in the signs, just as there is in the many hand-crafted items around town.

Tap-taps are the primary means of transportation in Port au Prince. Read Karl's Students Rebuild blog post on the anatomy of a tap-tap. His images reveal brightly painted trucks that can carry up to a dozen passengers.

During Karl's first day on the ground, he participated in a school assessment. The building's second floor had crumbled during the earthquake. Now, class is held under a tent. Despite the grim image Karl shows us, it's followed by smiling kids who wouldn't leave him alone until he snapped their picture.

Karl tells us that during his stay, Haitians wanted the rebuilding team to check out potential school projects in Jacmel. It took the team three hours to travel a short distance from Port au Prince. A twisty mountain pass made the journey a treacherous one.

Check out pictures and learn about progress on rebuilding efforts, including our first school under construction, on the Open Architecture Network. And stay tuned to Karl's field notes blog on Students Rebuild.