Sorg Architects designs staff housing for US Embassy, Haiti

USHaiti Sorg

US-based, international designers Sorg Architects, the firm behind over 250 projects in the US and abroad, has designed sustainable staff housing for the US Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Construction will begin in March 2012 and is scheduled to be completed in January 2014.

The Sorg project consists of 107 new townhouse units and a new Deputy Chief of Mission residence, along with support facilities, including a recreation center with an outdoor pool and basketball and tennis courts.

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The townhomes are large and range from three to five bedroom units. The inspiration for the design is derived from the local Haitian culture and is modeled after the Cubist forms of the “Bidonvilles” (clustered houses hugging the hillside).

The bold, colourful forms and materials commonly found in local art, such as brightly coloured metals inspire the materials used in the new housing units.

The exteriors of the new housing are harmonious with the diverse terrain and existing landscape of Port-au-Prince. Exterior finishes primarily consist of cement plaster finish and accent horizontal aluminum panel cladding. Aluminum-framed glazing systems, doors, and windows will be shaded by a sunshade system of overhangs and trellises.

Seismic design is an important aspect of the Haiti housing compound structures given that this project is in a seismic category D area.

Sustainability measures have been considered in the development of the conceptual design and include both passive and active features to offset demands on the limited local infrastructure and onsite generation.

As a guideline, the USGBC LEED for Homes checklist was used to establish criteria for sustainable design and as a basis for developing appropriate systems and strategies for residential unit development.

Established in 1986 by Suman Sorg, FAIA, Sorg Architects is one of the largest female-owned architecture firms in the US. Born in New Delhi, India, Suman Sorg is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, of the Lambda Alpha Honor Society, serves as a board member for the DC Building Industry Association, and is a Peer Reviewer for the General Services Administration (GSA) Design Excellence Program.

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