- Haiti Soft House
The HaitiSOFTHOUSE is a flexible and sustainable approach to shelter that provides immediate transitional housing, community development and reconstruction solutions.
The shelter is designed to resist tropical storms and hurricane conditions, resist earthquakes, and provide a healthy, well ventilated environment. The flexibility of the structure allows for multiple unit combinations, addressing domestic space needs, institutional needs and community needs.
The design features a lightweight and easy-to-assemble structural steel frame that receives high performance fabric with excellent weather capabilities. The structure can be anchored directly into the ground using high-strength earth anchors in a variety of soil conditions. Additionally, the structure can be mounted on a prefab concrete foundation tile system that is manufactured locally from recycled concrete rubble. The structure is designed to be assembled with few people in one day or less.
Given the superior environmental performance and structural stability of the design, this system can be reused in various configurations and sites as needed and the high-performance material can be recycled into smaller applications and integrated into the local economy.
The SOFTHOUSEgroup was conceived and initiated by a group of designers with unique complimentary expertise and a commitment to bringing high quality, sustainable design solutions to the current demands of the recovery and reconstruction efforts of Haiti. The SOFTHOUSEgroup is currently working in conjunction with The Rural Haiti Project to combine creative and professional expertise with local and cultural knowledge, in addressing the intermediate needs of Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.
The SOFTHOUSEgroup has established a valuable association with Fabric Images, a Chicago based manufacturer of lightweight deployable environmental structures. Fabric Images has international manufacturing locations with expertise in mass production under highly demanding delivery schedules.
The SOFTHOUSEgroupLLC in conjunction with The Rural Haiti Project have secured the use of a site in Jacmel, Haiti for the initial construction of prototypes for field testing in June of 2010. The initial deployment of HaitiSOFTHOUSE units is intended to expand and evolve into the Jacmel SOFTVILLAGE in 2010. The HaitiSOFTHOUSE shall serve as an active case study for implementation of transitional communities and allow time for more comprehensive long term sustainable strategies for permanent reconstruction and development in Haiti.
The HaitiSOFTHOUSE initiative goes beyond providing a unique and effective design solution by identifying strategies for local manufacture and distribution once the initial prototyping is complete. In this sense, through implementation The HaitiSOFTHOUSE has the capacity to stimulate the local economy and transfer design and fabrication expertise in a manner that promotes sustainable solutions, helping to transform local communities both environmentally and economically.