a healthy house for haiti

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Today I spoke with Anselmo Canfora, director of the Initiative reCOVER design-build program at the U.Va. School of Architecture. Canfora and his students, along with a team that included Mike Stoneking, AIA, and a handful of engineers and doctors, recently won a competition held by ARCHIVE (Architecture for Health in Vulnerable Environments) to design a house for Haiti that will help limit the spread of communicable disease.

Canfora was excited about the award, naturally, and explained the steps his team had taken to ensure their design (shown below) would be effective. The site for the project is located in an area where the spread of tuberculosis threatens immuno-compromised individuals, and a major goal was to keep fresh air moving throughout the residence. "We used a combination of passive and modest-active systems," he said. "The house is built of panels that have a gap within them to allow passive conductive cooling. The interiors use low-to-high cross-ventilation, and a low-volume ceiling fan draws hot air out." UV lamps, commonly used in medical settings, kill bacteria in the air. And the 850-square-foot home's layout, consisting of two buildings separated by a porch, allows a sick resident to sleep in a separate space from other family members.

According to Canfora, ARCHIVE hopes to build his team's proposal, as well as those of the other four finalists, in Haiti by the end of this year.--Meghan Drueding

Breathe House



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