Initial Project Design Statement

On January 12, 2010 an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, along with at least 50 aftershocks, devastated the small island nation of Haiti. If citizens were out of the house, their homes were lost. Tragically, thousands more were at home and caught underneath walls and ceilings. There was estimated to be at least 50,000 deaths and nearly 2 million people left without homes. Many buildings collapsed, including the Presidential Palace, because no national building code has ever been established. Because Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, most Haitians and even the Haitian government cannot afford the building materials and skilled labor required to build an earthquake resistant building that would meet building codes in earthquake zones within developed countries. Given these circumstances, the project group proposes to find a low cost building design that would use local materials from Haiti and unskilled labor to construct a small dwelling that can withstand an earthquake of equal magnitude of that which crippled the country.