Project Haiti, a 6,000-square-foot orphanage and children’s center for Fondation Enfant Jesus, is the first rebuilding effort led by the U.S. Green Building Council from conception to construction. Designed on a pro-bono basis by St. Louis–based
HOK, the three-story, L-shaped facility will house 30 children and 10 adults and feature balconies that look over a courtyard flanked by kitchen, dining, and training spaces. The building references the local Kapok tree: The balconies’ structural system follows the distribution of branches, and an exterior boundary layer acts like bark to block direct sunlight while allowing for natural ventilation. The project is about “finding a way forward through simplicity,” says Thomas Knittel, AIA, HOK’s senior design leader. Targeting LEED Platinum, the solar-powered, net-zero water and waste building uses local materials, and will help “teach Haitians how to build in an environmentally conscious and safe way,” says Roger Limoges, USGBC’s staff project manager. The project targets a 2013 completion.