US Embassy Haiti, Port-au-Prince Housing, Building News

Staff Housing for U.S. Embassy in Haiti

Port-au-Prince Building – design by Sorg Architects

Jan 6, 2012

Staff Housing for U.S. Embassy Haiti

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Architect: Sorg Architects

US Embassy Haiti Housing US Embassy Haiti Port-au-Prince US Embassy Haiti Staff Housing
images Courtesy of Sorg Architects

Sorg Architects Designs New Staff Housing for U.S. Embassy in Haiti

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S.-based, international designers Sorg Architects, the firm behind over 250 projects in the US and abroad, has designed new, sustainable, staff housing for the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Construction will begin in March 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in January 2014.

The Sorg project consists of 107 new townhouse units and a new Deputy Chief of Mission residence, along with support facilities, including a recreation center with an outdoor pool and basketball and tennis courts. The townhomes are large and range from three to five bedroom units. The inspiration for the design is derived from the local Haitian culture and is modeled after the Cubist forms of the “Bidonvilles” (clustered houses hugging the hillside). The bold, colorful forms and materials commonly found in local art, such as brightly colored metals inspire the materials used in the new housing units.

Aerial View of U.S. Embassy Compound in Haiti:
US Embassy Haiti Staff Housing
image Courtesy of Sorg Architects

The exteriors of the new housing are harmonious with the diverse terrain and existing landscape of Port-au-Prince. Exterior finishes primarily consist of cement plaster finish and accent horizontal aluminum panel cladding. Aluminum-framed glazing systems, doors, and windows will be shaded by a sunshade system of overhangs and trellises.

Seismic design is an important aspect of the Haiti housing compound structures given that this project is in a seismic category D area. The lateral force resisting system will have an emphasis on capacity and simplicity and consist of special reinforced masonry shear walls. The layout of the lateral force resisting system will conform to the OBO adopted code.

US Embassy Haiti Housing US Embassy Haiti Port-au-Prince US Embassy Haiti Staff Housing US Embassy Haiti Housing
images Courtesy of Sorg Architects

Sustainability measures have been considered in the development of the conceptual design and include both passive and active features to offset demands on the limited local infrastructure and onsite generation. As a guideline, the USGBC LEED for Homes checklist was used to establish criteria for sustainable design and as a basis for developing appropriate systems and strategies for residential unit development. Sustainable elements include:

• The use of plant materials that are native or adapted to Port-au-Prince and that are suited to the site conditions.
• The preservation of existing vegetation where practical and the planting of new trees that will shade buildings and paving to reduce the heat island effect.
• The treatment of wastewater in an on-site wastewater treatment facility and the use of a sand filtration system, located in an underground cistern, for automatic site irrigation.
• The use of locally fabricated precast concrete unit pavers for roads, driveways, parking areas and walkways, Power provided by solar (photovoltaic) panels backed up by onsite generators.
• The use of solar collectors to supplement water heating.
• The use of split HVAC systems throughout (no ductwork) with independent room control.
• The installation of whole house ventilation fans and operable windows to support open, natural ventilation.
• The use of vertical solar shades to shade the exterior glazing. More shading will be achieved with horizontal shades.
• The creation of an owner-developed central collection and recycling program.

Recreation Center at U.S. Embassy in Haiti:
US Embassy Haiti Port-au-Prince
image Courtesy of Sorg Architects

Established in 1986 by Suman Sorg, FAIA, Sorg Architects is one of the largest woman-owned architecture firms in the United States. Sorg Architects has completed projects in more than 30 countries throughout North America, South America, Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The firm’s extensive portfolio includes private and multi-family residential, commercial, educational, institutional and civic projects, often designed for repeat clients. The work of Sorg Architects reflects a commitment to modern architecture in urban settings: rather than imposing a style irrespective of site or culture, Sorg carefully examines the unique characteristics of each place along with the client’s programmatic requirements, and looks to this intersection as the catalyst for architectural concepts.

Born in New Delhi, India, Suman Sorg is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, of the Lambda Alpha Honor Society, serves as a board member for the DC Building Industry Association, and is a Peer Reviewer for the General Services Administration (GSA) Design Excellence Program. Educated at India’s prestigious School of Planning and Architecture, and at Cornell University, she is a frequent guest lecturer at symposia and conferences around the world, and is the recipient of some 24 awards and commendations from the AIA, among other prizes and honors. She lives and works in Washington, D.C.; her firm also maintains a sister office in New Delhi.

Staff Housing for U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince images / information from Sorg Architects

Location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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Website: Port-au-Prince Haiti