Political, cultural, climatic and environmental considerations are all embedded into the urban fabric.
24 October 2013
Architectural Association, London
syl·vo – the study of forestry
cité – vernacular term for a city
Sylvo Cité is a proposed regenerative urban morphology to the north of Port au Prince, Haiti. One which is based around the cultivation, and use of lightweight materials produced by a biodiverse forestry economy.
The past century saw the eradication of all but 2% of Haiti’s forests. This caused a huge rural exodus whilst destroying the nation’s ecology and removing lightweight timber from the construction industry. On the 12th January 2010 the consequences of this were seen in the Port au Prince earthquake of 2010 when a moderate 7.0 magnitude quake killed 316,000 people. This was a disaster of Haiti’s lack of lightweight building materials, working practices, and construction, not nature.
In the short-term, bamboo is the first material to be grown as the ‘Cité’ establishes itself. Bamboo is used in the construction of the initial urban blocks. Their design is a balance between the vernacular ‘Lakou’, or courtyard living, and the demands of a seismic and hurricane resilient structure. Their construction becomes a classroom of skills to be honed and then taken nationwide. Thus providing an impetus to grow lightweight materials elsewhere in Haiti, augmenting the economy, reforesting and subsequently rematerializing the construction industry.
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