Haiti: Center of Community
Fingerprints are an identifying feature that set us apart from one another and makes us unique. Yet in Haiti, community is more important than the individual. This site aims to be the fingerprint of the community of Lexi, defining and accommodating the most important aspects of Haitian life:
FAITH, FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND HOPE.
The primary function of the project is a preschool, providing hope through education and opportunity. Within the complex, these is also a church, market, public green, and guest house. These elements will draw people in from the surrounding area and help the community to grow and prosper.
The main goal of the project is to promote community and create an identity within the site for the people of Lexi. This central gathering space is a great place for the community, students and churchgoers to interact. It provides great outdoor seating, an extension to the church, as well as a place for the students to put on plays as well as play soccer and other outdoor games.
The central gathering space is surrounded by classroom buildings, an indoor community meeting area (the church), a guesthouse as well as a market place. All of these elements combined are intended to bring the people of Lexi together in a community center.
The classrooms and the church are all located on the southwest side, opposite to the entrance of the site. These buildings provide shade and a formal classroom setting where the kids will learn, as well as provide opportunities for smaller
community meetings when class is not in session. Overall the main idea was to provide a flexible yet formal place for the children to learn, and for the community to gather.
The classrooms as well as the church feature a flexible door system, which allows for the classroom to be kept shaded and cool, while also able to be opened to the outside when wanted.
In Haiti, going to church is a vital part of the week. Since church is such a central component to everyone's lives, it became the focal point of the site. Upon first entering the site, the first thing you see is the central building on the side, which is a grand church. The church is central to everything on the site, and is also located in between the classrooms, for use during school hours as a cafeteria, or for classroom expansion if needed.
Design: Market Place
The open-air market place is placed next to the road, create a threshold between the road and the central gathering space. This market will be used to welcome people in and provide a shaded place for the people to congregate, exchange goods and ideas. Also placed off of the main walking path is the administrative office as well as the guesthouse. Both are accessible from the site as well as the path. The central amphitheater is a symbol of progress, where people will gather, sit, talk and play on an open field, surrounded by full trees and plants.