Design for Health and Interactivity

The international non-profit Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments (ARCHIVE) recently announced their selections for a housing design competition focused on rebuilding earthquake ravaged Haiti. These designs address concerns about public health, affordable housing, and the impact of design on community. The top design, Breathe House, from University of Virginia’s Initiative reCOVER is pictured below.

BREATHE HOUSE, FIRST PLACE (COURTESY ARCHIVE)

Part of this focus has been to pay attention to how housing design relates to health. The Breathe House incorporates ventilation features to deal with concerns about tuberculosis, for example. At the same time the interconnected porch area is designed to promote social interaction, fostering a sense of community. The 5 winning designs can be viewed here or in a slideshow here.  A prototype of each will be built in the coastal town of St. Marc.

Although the focus is not quite the same, this project reminded me of the development of Katrina Cottages for the post-Katrina recovery in the Gulf Coast. These are small storm-worthy cottages, designed to be affordable and expandable alternatives to the not-so-temporary FEMA trailers to which many Gulf residents were consigned as recovery has dragged on.

(c) 2006 Bruce Tolar

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