On February 24th, the high-in-the-hills Children's Academy and Learning Center, a collaboration of Architecture for Humanity, BAR Architects in San Francisco and community organization Haiti Partners, celebrated the opening of its first school building.
"Over 1000 people attended, including a great many of the partners who have made the Children’s Academy possible," the Haiti Parners blog recounts. "Speeches were made, awards were given out, the WOZO choir sang, there was dancing," including a special Gagnam style demonstration from the community partner (not pictured).
The first two-story classroom block pre-paint
Lining up to head to the dedication
That day attendees voted on which color to paint the school - with the winning selection being lime green.
"It was also an opportunity to further engage the community by having them vote to decide what color to paint the school," says Haiti Partners. "Sample colors were painted on the school wall, buckets were set out, and community members voted by placing a small rock in the bucket that represented the color they liked best. In the end, pastel green was the clear winner: 196 votes out 313 cast."
Darren and Lisa study the paint options
"Our goal," Haiti Partners
"From the ground up, we’re building it as a place that’s cultivating learning and innovation for children and adults of all ages, that brings the whole community together."
Haiti Partners anticipates completing a new classroom block every year, as the first wave of students advances through the school, eventually developing a campus of alternative learning in Bawonsya as well as a family of dedicated alumni.
"BAR is so fortunate to be involved with Haiti Partners by way of Architecture for Humanity and the joy this project has brought to our lives is almost indescribable," writes the design team on the BAR Rebuilds blog.
"There is a running joke amongst those of us who worked and lived in Haiti that a piece of our hearts will always be there."
About half of the BAR team were able to attend the dedication ceremony
We have been only too happy to work with them and the gorgeous design and planning by BAR, to see education flourish in rural Haiti.
Images by Thomas Crowley, BAR Architects