HAITI

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HAITI

Walking thru a popular central market one day of 1972 in Haiti, I was astounded by their popular paintings and by their creativity in general.

Walking thru the central Port-au-Prince market, I discovered all the extraordinary weaving techniques people created with different kinds of reeds and bamboo. I was inspired by the half dome type of woven bamboo baskets as containers to sell bread and other goods. It gave me the idea to join these domes with the Buckminster Fuller technique to make a more liveable space. So I asked a woman in the market to weave a few of them with different dimensions and I first made a small model in the Architect’s friend garden (see photos).

I later made a full scale space still in use today. I covered the bamboo with some 2cm of cement mixed with tar, the cheapest waterproof on hand. I initially wanted to make the wall with the same materials with wooden posts but the Architect preferred stone walls in his property…Apparently it has not been harmed by the recent terrible earthquake.

I was asked by a local businessman to do a tourist resort with this technique (see encl photos of model and plans) but at the end he did not have the money to buy the land…

I went to the national Housing Authorities and try to convince them that the system was more ecological and 30% cheaper than their usual tin roofed houses (so inadequate in their hot climate).. .

Aside, this system would promote the creation of jobs thru micro-enterprises for the weaving of the domes, the building of panels, doors and windows, etc….

It was rejected because there was no cut for them. There was definitely something for their pocket when importing tin roofs and other materials: they were obviously more interested in improving their own income and totally uninterested in the well-being of a  population so poor and yet so rich with creativity!

The basic reeds and bamboo materials still exist today and the Haitian misery has grown in the last 40 years  I hope that this terrible earthquake will bring donor countries to seriously think in the kind of help that should liberate the creative energies of a population whose suffering never stopped from growing.

It is my hope that these ideas may generate new energies for a better life.

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