PROGRAM: Disaster Relief Studio

SITE: Cité Soleil

CONTEXT: Port-au-Prince, Haiti

DECEMBER 14TH, 2009: Wyclef Jean’s Haitian charity organization, Yéle Haiti, launches a design competition for a new music studio in Cité Soleil, Haiti. The music studio must respond now, but plan for the future of the community. Music is relief in a time of tragedy.

JANUARY 12th, 2010 4:53 PM: An earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale devastates Haiti, killing tens of thousands and reducing its capital city of Port-au-Prince to rubble.

CITÉ SOLEIL: An extremely impoverished and densely populated slum in the Port-au-Prince metro area. neglected by relief efforts and forced to survive on its own terms. Crime and violence trump waiting for help.

PHASES OF RECOVERY: The goal is to meet the most basic survival needs now while leaving spaces for future growth. Each phase is able to sustain itself until funds are gathered to continue.

PROGRAM: Given the spatial restrictions of the site, organizing the required programmatic elements dominates the process. Both studios must be visible from the control room.

The pursuit of the most efficient combination of studio spaces resulted in a mass of program along the park edge.

A rooftop park is conceived to link the public space with the radio station—erasing the boundaries between the community and the music.

The simplicity in the stick-framed method of construction and the efficiency of using flat-packed and stackable materials allows for a quick and self-explanatory construction sequence.

PHASE 1: (Now 2 - years) A shelter and shell for the future

PHASE 2: (Year 2 - Year 5) Addition of the core studio programs

PHASE 3: (Year 5+) Completion of music studio and park

PHASE 1: SHELTER: After the earthquake, the need for a music studio is not a top priority. Phase 1 constructs the foundation of the future studio, but focuses on providing a simple open space shelter for people in need.

Survival services (kitchen and bathroom/shower) are built.

The railing structure provides support for tent structures—doubling the relief shelter.

PHASE 2: PROGRAM: In the void spaces, used for years in early relief efforts, the music program will begin to take shape.

Walls are built to enclose the control room and small studio.

The reception desk is added along with restroom facilities for the public—officially opening the center for recording services.

PHASE 3: COMMUNITY: Completion of the project will be a milestone for the recovery efforts. The community park will be revitalized alongside the construction efforts.

Many years after the earthquake, Phase 3 gives a new park, a choir sized music studio and an outdoor concert space to the community.

The finished center is a landmark for the city and a story of great perseverance, courage and growth.