Homes for Haiti

Cal Earth stepped in after the disaster in Haiti to provide sustainable, low-cost housing, empowering unskilled workers in the process.

When thousands of Haitians were left homeless after the earthquake in January 2010 the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal Earth) went across to help with the reconstruction of homes for the people.

Cal Earth, a non-profit organisation, first set about calculating the amount of time it would take to train unskilled workers to build permanent and semi-permanent housing structures. Next they had to calculate the amount of materials needed for the building and the cost that this would incur.

The foundation of the structure comprises sandbags that were covered in mud. Other materials that make this home possible are superadobe rolls, barbed wire, cement, waterproofing materials, basic building tools, windows and a door with a lock.

The homes were built with a 3m-high dome as the main point, with a sleeping apse attached. There’s also an apse that is suitable for a cooking fire and another apse that can be used for storage or as a sleeping area for small children. This “dome home” was built to withstand the heavy rainfalls and strong winds of the hurricane season and can comfortably accommodate six people

More on Design Thinking