École Nationale Republique d'Argentine

Related program: Haiti Rebuilding Center


The École Nationale République d'Argentine school was selected after the completion of a study of 20 schools identified as priorities by the Haitian Government. The schools surveyed were sites of institutions that aligned with President Martelly mandate of delivering free primary education to all. Each of these schools was evaluated to select a site for which an intervention would provide the maximum benefit within the constraints of the project and budget.

École Argentine is a primary school in the Bel Air district of Port Au Prince which had a student population of over 1300 students before the earthquake. Two of the major classroom blocks were destroyed by the earthquake leaving only 1 classroom block and a utilities building remaining. This left only 4 of 16 original classrooms standing. The existing buildings where reconfigured to provide 7 classrooms, but still only servicing a small percentage of the original student population.

The large 6200m2 site is a relatively flat site which originally housed 4 blocks of 4 classrooms, a kitchen, auditorium and infirmary. The grounds are accessed from rue Sans Fil, a major connector between Route Delmas and Avenue John Brown. Prior to the earthquake the school was one of the few with a water filtration system, providing fresh potable water to the school.


Although two of the original buildings withstood the earthquake, it was determined that they were deemed structurally unsafe. Structural issues included, undersized and non-compliant rebar, and undersized columns and foundations.

An existing basketball court which currently has a tent camp on it, will be renovated as part of this project as well.

New Construction

The following program spaces are needed:
- 6 x 50m2 classrooms
- 1 admin space
- 1 open air cafeteria/multipurpose space
- 1 toilet block

Sustainable Strategies

All aspects of the community should be sustainable in nature; strategies logical to this particular site and Haitian culture should be determined. We will implement a series of design charettes to better understand the needs of the students and teachers, as well as to better understand the site context.

Some of the possibilities currently being investigated are as follows:


  • Respect existing construction and materials, repair and infill instead of demolishing and building back new
  • Carefully study water drainage – divert all roof water to landscaping and or cisterns
  • Minimize parking area
  • Rebuild a consistent and beautiful campus edge
  • Provide plant ground cover to maintain and increase soil quality, moderate temperature and to minimize water runoff
  • Install composting toilets to treat sewage locally, while providing nutrient rich compost for local plants and vegetation


  • Capture rainwater for domestic use
  • Increase local water storage to provide larger degree of water security
  • Repair existing water treatment system for locally sourced potable water
  • Provide plant ground cover to maintain and increase soil quality, moderate temperature and to minimize water runoff


  • Use narrow floor plates to maximize airflow natural light
  • Orient buildings and utilize shading strategies to minimize solar gain
  • Provide appropriate openings for natural light
  • Investigate low-voltage lighting options to reduce energy requirements
  • Phase in photovoltaic arrays


  • Use locally resourced materials and labor (provide training for quality concrete and masonry construction)
  • Observe existing materials, all new materials should harmonize with existing
  • Utilize quality plumbing and electrical components

A substantial portion of the grant funding will be used for the initiative for teacher training

  • Develop and provide environmental education and resources for learning

View this project on the Open Architecture Network

Related Program