Ghetto Biennale – Gallery/Workshop

Ghetto Biennale
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Feasibility Study


The Blurb

The ghetto Architects are made up of Vivian Chan, Maccha Kasparian and Yuk Yee Phang (based in London and Paris) who spent time conducting field research with local contractors, NGO architects like Architecture for Humanity, Clinton Foundation and extensive consultations with the user artist groups and local community before presenting their proposal at both the French Institute and at the closing conference of the Ghetto Biennale.

There is an art school in Haiti, but it is fee paying and too expensive for the children in the neighbourhood, so most arts are passed on in Haiti from artist to apprentice. The Grand Rue artists are teaching a new young generation of artists called Ti Moun Rezistans; children ranging from 6 to 18 years old in the neighbourhood. Currently all the children exhibit their work nailed around the walls of the neighbourhood and have to work sitting on the ground without shade.

The new art gallery is conceived as a pavilion/follie lodged within the massing of the ghetto which will accommodate a workshop pavillion and amphitheatre for performance, washroom and shower facilities along with extensive display wall provisions and secure storage. A more permanent signage/art installation will also be proposed where the site leads to the main road of the Grand Rue so that more visibility can be generated for the project.

 The architects are looking at constructing using largely recycled materials available widely within the slums like thrown-away Styrofoam boxes; compressed into neat sacks of building ‘block’, plastic bottles, bamboo sun-screens, photo-voltaic cells to try to get the project off-grid, zinc corrugated roofing supported by timber structures. The layout of the design serves to promote cross-ventilation with the prevailing wind taken into consideration; whilst providing adequate roof area to harvest rain-water for workshop use. Sanitation is to be improved potentially via bio digesters linked to landscape planters.

Security will also be improved by a pair of entrance gates and a secure storage rooms for electronic equipment like laptops and precious tools. More display walls will be incorporated whilst an existing wall on the site is to be splayed outwards to provide a more welcoming entry into the performance stage area. A bar accessible via a convenient cut-out from the dynamic curved wall will also both the private courtyard and the more public stage/exhibition area.

Fund-raising is expected to be kicked off shortly once the design is more fully developed after the Biennale.