Safe Haven Orphanage and School

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Virginia Tech

Pro bono work has always appealed to me. The prospect of being able to help those less fortunate with my knowledge and skillset is uplifting and gratifying. There is something truly rewarding about taking the architectural knowledge and training I have received and finding a solution to a problem for a nonprofit or a group of people that could not easily afford to hire someone. It gives me the opportunity to explore creative solutions with a low budget while still making something beautiful and thoughtful, that not only provides the spaces needed but also adds the detailing and uniqueness that gives the place and its users a sense of pride and pleasure.

This thesis seeks to present the programmatic needs, local building materials and resources, a study in efficient building, the local needs and customs, and ways to improve people's lives with an orphanage in Savanette, Haiti. The goal is to explore the fundamental needs of an orphanage and a school in a developing country and develop strategies to address these needs. A successful orphanage needs to provide comfortable housing but also a sense of safety and security, a loving environment where orphans can grow and heal, a self-sustaining community that can care for the facility, and a means to train and educate orphans for adulthood and the working world. Since education is such a central need for an orphanage, and since schools are limited in Haiti, it only made sense to open this up to children in the surrounding area as well.

The purpose of this thesis is to develop an architectural language of building components that can be utilized to answer the programmatic needs of the orphanage and school. This system creates the overall structural layout and is intended to be an easily constructible and expandable model while providing good design that is culturally sensitive.

orphanage, school, pro-bono, Haiti, post and beam, modular construction, Architecture, campus