The Project

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Ti Kay là is based on four basic elements: the psychology of children, local culture, structural safety and economic impact of the project.


Because children in the center are orphans or have been abandoned, we wanted to create a space where they could feel comfortable, protected and part of a family again. Therefore, we began by creating a raised concrete platform that would serve as a common base for the construction of the houses, to be later covered with a large single wooden roof. In doing so, an area was obtained with clearly defined external borders but with large open spaces inside punctuated by the structural frame of the roof. These areas are crucial for children to carry out daily activities while maintaining their privacy, a particularly important aspect when considering their differences in age and more or less traumatic experiences.

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Several characteristic elements of the local architectural environment, such as the Lakou and the typical forms of the rural Kay ayitien, were incorporated to help children and the AYMY employees to feel comfortable in the architecture of the project.
Therefore, the houses were arranged in line but separated from each other by a large space and equipped with the typical large front porch. The design of the large single roofing was structured by adopting the shape of a double-pitched roof, typical of the traditional local houses, assuming the final saw-tooth form.

Sequence of houses built on the Grand Rue in Anse-à Pitres; note the shape of the roofs in sequence
1 / 3 – Lakou formula
2 / 3 – Section A-A
3 / 3 – House plan


In addition to the climate, the geographic location of the site influenced the design. Since it lies in a tropical climate on top of a tectonic fault, the project was developed by considering sun heat, abundant autumn rains that cause floods and the constant risk of earthquakes.
To avoid the risk of floods, it was decided to raise the reinforced concrete platform by at least 50 cm over the ground and to insert drainage tubes every 2 m; for earthquakes, instead, wood was chosen as the material for the roof structure and the foundations of the platform were reinforced. Reinforcing bars were inserted in the walls of the houses every 60 cm.
The issue of overheating of the interior was solved with certain devices on the single roofing, separating it from the houses and making it wider to prevent sunlight from hitting the walls of the buildings, which would heat them up, and above all taking advantage of natural ventilation.

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The economic and social impact was finally considered both for the positive effect that a project of this kind would have on the development of the local economy and for the construction and maintenance costs that the NGO would have to bear.
With the aim of supporting the economy of Anse-à-Pitres, it was decided to employ local labor force almost exclusively despite the absence of site managers and skilled workers. In addition to the choice to use local machines and building materials whenever feasible, this made it possible to give work to more than 40 people in alternating phases and to keep production costs low, while stretching construction time a bit.
Very resistant materials and simple construction techniques, easy to follow and with little maintenance required, were chosen since there are no major suppliers of materials within less than a day trip from the site.

1 / 9 – Random configuration of the houses in the center land
2 / 9 – configuration in Lakou Aymy
3 / 9 – Elevation of the houses on anti-flooding and anti-sismic platforms
4 / 9 – Joint basements to give unity to the space
5 / 9 – Creation of a united coverage for the platform and the houses, creating a joint and defined space
6 / 9 – Reference to the local Ayitian Kay architectur
7 / 9 – Necessity of side space for each house
8 / 9 – Sliding the houses on the platform to create more space
9 / 9 – Ti kay là