Village Tournesol Masterplan

Village Tournesol Masterplan

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Design Team: 

Studio Unité
Irene Brisson
Alice Min Soo Chun
Benedict Clouette
Ruben Hernandez
Marlisa Wise
Eri Yamagata
Maria Gabriela Esalera-Joy

Location:  Montagne LeVroute, Sud-est, Haiti
Year:  2010

Village Tournesol is a masterplan for a model community that would be a laboratory and training ground for the construction of economically and ecologically sustainable designs. Social infrastructure, housing and farming are aligned in to take maximum advantage of passive and active solar energy, passive water collection and erosion control. Studio Unité undertook the design of Village Tournesol as an example of integrated sustainable design, considering those environmental, social and political concerns that must support development projects. The design has been tailored to the conditions of a site in the Montagne Levroute region outside Jacmel, but provides a model and strategy for many similar regions.

We plan for the building of holistic villages with an extreme emphasis on education and community participation because it is not enough to provide shelter for vulnerable communities. Viable solutions to infrastructure, housing, economic growth, healthcare, and social welfare can not be seen as insular conditions, but an inclusive and binding glue for the success of a self-sustaining community, eliminating dependence on aid and poverty. For the local community to recover, grow and thrive, long-term needs must be provided for through multifaceted, collaborative design and planning. Therefore, Village Tournesol proposes the following program on a 16-acre site:

  • Supportive housing for 25 single mothers & children
  • Permanent housing for 60 families
  • Primary school serving 300 children from the local community
  • Vocational school & adult education programs
  • Community & maternal health clinic with pharmacy
  • Solar collection & storage for electrical use in every home
  • Rainwater collection & purification
  • Community center with media hub
  • Farming within 300 acre sustainable agriculture development zone

Economic opportunities for all are vital to build a thriving community. At the heart of Village Tournesol is the vocational school and market space, where local farmers and craftsmen can sell their products and receive training on environmentally friendly methods of agriculture and sustainable technologies. By combining adult education and financial training with economic growth opportunities, the community is able to grow and thrive through this integrated facility.

The community school serves 300 children from the local community, staffed by local Haitian teachers with the support and training from international educational researchers. Each classroom will utilize global resources via the internet in combination with outdoor environmental education and hands-on learning experiences. The high standards and international exposure provided by the school will open a world of opportunity to under-served children in rural Haiti.

The community center serves the entire local population through a variety of services. The hall and kitchen will be used by the school to provide nutritious lunches. The amphitheater seating can serve as a platform for performances and public gatherings. A media hub will provide telephone and internet access for residents and regional neighbors.

Single family homes are designed with exterior courtyards and porches to be arranged in clusters of two- or four-family homes. Working with the practice of multi-generational living and cooperative child-care, courtyard clusters create larger and smaller, private as well as more public gathering spaces within housing areas. Outside living spaces reinforce design for passive ventilation and natural daylighting.

The clinic will serve the local population with general medical services and specializing in maternal and infant health concerns. Community outreach and education will be undertaken to reduce risk and promote preventative strategies such as nutrition, sanitation and family planning. Haitian medical staff will be supported by international volunteer doctors, providing a high level of care to an under-served population.

Village Tournesol is designed to enhance natural cycles, using local resources to generate solar power, purified rainwater and passive ventilation to create healthy and sustainable environments. Each home uses its roof surface for solar collection and rainwater harvesting for reliable power and water, and is engineered to withstand extreme weather concerns of hurricanes and earthquakes. Sanitation, water and solar power are integral to the functioning of a healthy community.

Local materials and local labor are essential to building a local economy along with a community. Bamboo can be grown and harvested from the hills of the Jacmel region, where it can provide soil stabilization, to be used for structural framing and lightweight screens. Compressed earth block bricks can be produced using dirt excavated on site, employing local tradespeople and reducing shipping costs.