Kreyol Living Wisdom

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An introduction to Haiti's envirionmental patterns.

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  • Kreyol Living Wisdom

    1. 1. TRANSFORMATIVE DEVELOPMENT CONCEPTS FOR HAITI www.galrigroup.com galrigroup@gmail.com
    2. 2. WHAT IS GALRI?GALRI is a joint venture association of San Francisco Bay Area architectswho have been working in Haiti since January of 2010 in collaboration withHaitian professionals and citizens.The name GALRI comes from the Kreyol work for veranda or porch, thatessential Haitian place that mediates between the private interior and thepublic community life.We are focused on cultural connection and environmental sustainability asvital sparks in regeneration and redevelopment.
    3. 3. HOW CAN WE LEARN FROM KREYOL LIVING WISDOM?
    4. 4. HAITI’S UNIQUE & SUSTAINABLEINDIGENOUS ENVIRONMENTAL PATTERNS
    5. 5. THEIR ROLEIN THE REBUILDING PROCESS
    6. 6. In order to really stick, reconstruction must have at its heart anunderstanding of Haiti’s dynamic and innovative Kreyol culture and itsunique blend of African, European and American traditions, what we call thepatterns of "Kreyol Living Wisdom“.
    7. 7. Through patterns like these, ordinary Haitian citizens can shape the trulysustainable regeneration of their country, empowering and leveraging thelegacy of their native experience and intelligence.
    8. 8. The patterns of Kreyol Living Wisdom must be thoroughly documented,archived and disseminated in order to fulfill their full potential.
    9. 9. WHAT ISKREYOL LIVING WISDOM?
    10. 10. TEN ESSENTIAL PATTERNS
    11. 11. 1. Landscape Stewardship2. Living Off the Land3. Kreyol Settlement Structure4. The Lakou5. The Galri6. The Jaden7. Rural Building Models8. Urban Building Models9. Color, Pattern & Ornament10. Kreyol Architecture
    12. 12. 1. LANDSCAPE STEWARDSHIP
    13. 13. The richness and variety of Haiti’s landscape, from the coastline andmountains to the river valleys forms a dynamic ecological system. Therebalancing of this system must form the basis of Haiti’s regeneration,encompassing cities, towns, and villages, as well as its wilderness andagricultural regions.
    14. 14. By replanting its forests, replenishing fertile soil, and providing clean waterfor every citizen, by thus renewing the life and beauty of its naturallandscape, Haiti can become a model of environmental restoration andrecovery for the world.
    15. 15. 2. LIVING OFF THE LAND
    16. 16. Restoration of Haiti’s natural landscape must be connected to nurturing anagriculture base, to provide food and work. The land itself is not the onlyagricultural resource, farming wisdom is critically embodied in the people aswell. Agriculture renewal projects will range in size and type of operation,including from kitchen gardens to large-scale ranches, from family farms tothe commercial manufacture of gourmet food and farm products.
    17. 17. Although this process must have a coordinated, global vision, it must beactually put into action piece by piece, on the ground. We must continuouslyobserve what works best and build on it, observe what works best and buildon it.
    18. 18. 3. KREYOL SETTLEMENT STRUCTURE
    19. 19. From the rural farming compounds to the bustling metropolises of Port AuPrince and Cap Hatien, Haiti’s human settlements incorporate a range oflarge grain economic, social, and architectural patterns, from the French &Spanish Colonial gridiron city plan, to the more topographically determinedlandscape and layouts of the agricultural villages and urban Bidonvilles(informal settlements).
    20. 20. Colonial planning was centered on natural and human resource exploitation.Conversely, a program of refurbishing the Bidonvilles could provide aprospect for the emergence of intense urban as well as rural landscaperestoration, an opportunity to humanely harness and leverage the socialgenius and energy of Haitians in the cities.
    21. 21. 4. THE LAKOU
    22. 22. In Kreyol, the shared yard or courtyard is called "Lakou". Traditionally thisspace accommodates the sharing of material items, chores, food, space andchild care. It has been said that the Lakou, even more than the buildingsaround it, is the real home of those who live there. In rural settings Lakou isthe yard of the family or extended family, the communal work space of thefarm compound.
    23. 23. In towns and cities Lakou are often at the interior of the block. In bothcontexts a more public Lakou can emerge as the center of a neighborhood,connected to intimately scaled streets. For some Haitians, Lakou isnegatively associated with poverty, Vodun, and rural nostalgia. Theopportunity is to employ the critical power of this communal arena, and bringit into the dynamic reality of 21st century--the "Nouvo Lakou".
    24. 24. 5. THE GALRI
    25. 25. A major contribution to the life of public spaces is made by the Galri (porch)in practice the actual “living room” of Haitian buildings. For climatic andcultural reasons, Haitians perform many of their living and social activitiesfunctions outside, in the Galri, sheltered from the sun and the rain. Theinterior of the house mainly serves as a place to rest and to store possessions.
    26. 26. In denser urban areas the Galri can be two stories or more tall, wrappingaround buildings, and even linking separate buildings. Their often intricatelydetailed ornament manifests the character and identity of their builders,owners and residents, as well as that of the cities and towns themselves.
    27. 27. 6. THE JADEN
    28. 28. Haiti’s gardens possess immense potential, including for a secondary foodproduction source and as a component of an integrated water resourcemanagement system. Food production at even the smallest scales is vital in acountry of chronic shortage. Storm water, grey water and even night soil canbe fruitfully leveraged.
    29. 29. Even ornamental plant systems serve as symbiotic wildlife habitat for birdsand insects as well as elements of personal and civic identity and pride. Thisgarden network, from the scale of urban window boxes, rural backyardkitchen and herbal plots, to community gardens on undeveloped parcels,provides incremental support for the Landscape Stewardship and Living OffThe Land patterns.
    30. 30. 7. RURAL BUILDINGS
    31. 31. The simple two room buildings with Galri, The Ti Kay & the Kreyol Cottage are the essential Haitian rural house models. They often start out astransitional shelters, and over time are transformed into long-life homes.Conventionally built with light frames, they are easily adapted to a variety ofconstruction systems.
    32. 32. Whatever the construction, new or rebuilt, the best examples make for asecure and durable shelter, allow for owner participation and adaptation, andprovide for expression of community and individual identity. Thesebuildings never stand alone. They are always integrated into landscape andagricultural patterns, and most especially into the social context of the“Lakou.”
    33. 33. 8. URBAN BUILDINGS
    34. 34. THE CREOLE TOWN HOUSE
    35. 35. In Haiti’s cities, the Kreyol Town House is the typical building model. Likethe rural buildings, it has a “Galri” that connects it to the streets and sharedpublic spaces. It allows for extraordinary flexibility and variety in layout anduse.The “Kay Chamhot” (house with tall rooms) is an example of the creativeurban transformation of the “Ti Kay” rural house.
    36. 36. The largest examples of the Kreyol Townhouse, the “Grand Maison” cancover a full town block, with multi-story wraparound Galri, landscapedinterior courtyards, and beautifully ornamented columns and balconies.The Kreyol Town House is a vibrant expression of Haitian civic life.
    37. 37. 9. COLOR, PATTERN & ORNAMENT
    38. 38. In Haitian culture color, pattern and ornament are essential elements.Overall, the approach to building and landscape is straightforward andpractical, thus it is often through decoration that particular places aredistinguished and celebrated. Haitians employ color, pattern and ornament intheir environment because it says who and where they are, and it is beautifuland celebratory.
    39. 39. Certain colors and decorative elements can have specific meanings andsignificance. Consciously and skillfully employed, they can enhance thelegibility of the environment.
    40. 40. 10. KREYOL ARCHITECTURE
    41. 41. THE GINGERBREAD HOUSES
    42. 42. THE HIGHEST ACHIEVMENT OFAFRICAN-AMERICAN ARCHITECTURE
    43. 43. Haiti’s late 19th and early 20th century Gingerbread Houses embody the fullpotential of the Kreyol, and are perhaps the most exemplary body of work todate of African American architecture. They are intensely expressive,structurally ingenious and adaptively responsive to the extremes of theCaribbean climate.
    44. 44. Although their formal sophistication marks them as works of the highestartistic quality, in their fundamental practicality and structural transparencythey drink deeply from the Haitian vernacular, particularly the “KayChamhot” (house with tall rooms). Their creative synthesis of African,European and American influences sets an ambitious benchmark for thecountry’s future environmental and cultural development.
    45. 45. DRAWINGS BY ANGHELENARRINGTON PHILIPPS
    46. 46. PHOTOS BYRANDOLPH LANGENBACH
    47. 47. In order to really stick, reconstruction must have at its heart anunderstanding of Haiti’s dynamic and innovative Kreyol culture and itsunique blend of African, European and American traditions, what we call thepatterns of "Kreyol Living Wisdom“.
    48. 48. Through patterns like these, ordinary Haitian citizens can shape the trulysustainable regeneration of their country, empowering and leveraging thelegacy of their native experience and intelligence.
    49. 49. The patterns of Kreyol Living Wisdom must be thoroughly documented,archived and disseminated in order to fulfill their full potential.
    50. 50. TRANSFORMATIVE DEVELOPMENT CONCEPTS FOR HAITI www.galrigroup.com galrigroup@gmail.com USA tel: 510.355.6401Port au Prince/Haiti tel: 509.3773.3978

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