U.Va. Architecture’s “Breathe House” Erected in Haiti

Breathe House

Photo courtesy of Sara Harper

Breathe House

Photo courtesy of Sara Harper

We checked in with U.Va.’s Initiative reCOVER this week, following the build of its innovative “Breathe House” in the Haitian community of Bois l’Etat, near St. Marc.So named for its natural ventilation strategy, the Breathe House was designed by students in the U.Va. School of Architecture. Led by Anselmo Canfora, the team took first place in an international competition that sought disaster-recovery solutions for Haiti’s displaced population following a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in January 2010. (Read more about the Breathe House here.)

Coming in first gave the team the opportunity to fulfill their vision, which was erected this week.

“Working in Haiti has many challenges,” said Initiative reCOVER research fellow Sara Harper, “but with the team that traveled to Saint-Marc, Haiti, we were able to overcome those difficulties and produce a safe and healthy building that will serve the FEBS (Fondation Esther Boucicault Stanislas) community for many years to come.”

The Breathe House was made possible by the generous support of the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission — which awarded U.Va. a grant for the Partnership for Affordable, Energy Efficient Housing Systems — and that of several other local partners, said Phil Parrish, U.Va. associate vice president for research.

“Based upon that grant, the team manufactured the Breathe House structural panels in Southside, Va., which were subsequently shipped to Haiti and assembled,” Parrish said. “Manufacture of this first prototype of the Breathe House was a joint effort between U.Va.; SIPS of America Inc. (Blairs, Va.); and the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center, the Riverstone Energy CenterAWFI and Kyoger (all located in South Boston, Va.).”

The build team, pictured at left, included Harper; Parrish; Kenny Stevenson from AWFI; Trace Steffen from Kyoger; and Mary Butcher, John Diven, Mike Gallahue and Ethan Tate from the Building Goodness Foundation.

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