The renovation of the historic building at Elie Dubois is underway. Thus far, 14 weeks of work have been completed, with one week of delays.
To give a bit of background about the project: Architecture for Humanity is responsible for the construction drawings (which were issued earlier this year), GSA is the structural engineer, and La Generale Construction is the contractor who will be executing the renovation. Project and construction management is being handled by FAES.
Architecture for Humanity is providing construction administration services without management of construction administration. AFH responds to RFI's, maintains a site presence to observe the work of the contractor, and has a senior project architect attend weekly meetings.
front of historic building
Construction contract were signed at the tail end of april for both interventions. Work should commence on may 15th where a delegation of BID will be on site for the groundbreaking.
We're still negotiating our add services proposal with FAES which at this point rests on FAES' lap. Hopefully by the end of this week we will come to a mutual agreement.
FAES is still evaluating the offers received and the selection process should end this friday.In the meantime, at a recent meeting with both BID and FAES, we discussed AFH future engagement towards the project as we are facing some financial issues due to costs of delays and changes incurred in the last few months. We were asked by BID to submit an add services amount for the extra time already spent and not yet accounted for but also to resubmit a revised scope and budget for the CA phase which we're in the midst of finalizing.
A lot has happened since our "Bids are out" announcement. All offers were received on september 30th. Unfortunately due to reasons at the time unknown to us, we didn't take part of the bid opening and evaluation session that took place that same day. Through unrelenting correspondences with FAES, we were later on informed on the outcome of the session. Most of the offers came at what we had anticipated, some lower than expected. On november 28th 2013,we surprisingly learned that the process was "infructueux"(unfruitful) as our FAES informant so eloquently put it. Bids came much higher than what's budgeted, situation we knew about since our internal estimation had surpassed largely the budget target. Consequently, FAES decided to not only cut scope but also to divide it into 2 main ones re-issuing the separate bids early this year. Both bid sets composed separately of the FRP system maneuvers and of the rest of the complementing masonry and carpentry works were sent out on january 27th. We've also learned through our constant communications with CINA, another big funding partner, that additionnal funds were approved and handed in by said partner to the renovation of this oftentimes problematic project, after a "request for additional financial support" meeting was held in november at IDB offices with the different parties involved.
New bids are set to be received two weeks from now.
In the effort to preserve the historic look of Elie Dubois, our plans have been to replace damaged interior doors with old doors from the nun's residency (which had been demolished because of too much damage from the earthquake). Unfortunately, the doors from the nun's residency have recently been stolen at Elie Dubois. This incident happened when the tent containing all the salvaged material from the nun's residency was dismantled on site for the construction of a small "food bar" for the students (built by the teachers).
Below, press release on 'Le Nouvelliste' (most distributed/read Haitian newspaper)
Designs for Rue Paul VI Entrance:
On Rue Paul VI, Ecole Elie Dubois property line is defined by a few corrugated metal sheets sadly nailed together on salvaged pieces of wood since the earthquake of January 12 2010. The nuns of Elie Dubois have complained about several cases of robbery, and would like for a concrete-block wall to be rebuilt.
While it is unfortunate that the nuns want to build a tall wall, when their exemplary wall on Rue du Centre does not exceed a meter and allows for beautiful views of the school's West Facade, there may be a way to make the Rue Paul VI wall look interesting with block-work.
Currently, the far East Wall of Elie Dubois is composed of regular cmus and a top portion of 'claustra blocks'.
Exploring designs for reviving Phase 1 of Elie Dubois through Landscape and Art
Ecole Elie Dubois' current entrance is on Rue Paul VI and opens up to a concrete drive-way bordered on the East by three white and blue UNESCO classroom buildings and on the West, by one smaller white and blue office space for the nuns. While those UNESCO buildings were originally designed to provide temporary shelter to the students, teachers and nuns after the earthquake, a lack of funding for long-term development has obliged the school to accept the buildings as permanent classroom buildings.
The UNESCO buildings have fared well during the last two years, but teachers and students complain about water falling into the classrooms from the top vent, whenever it rains. They also complain about the heat because the roof is too low and the corrugated metal sheets make it even hotter inside.
Since Elie's historic building will not be ready for students to occupy for the upcoming school-year (2013-2014), it has become a priority to make the three UNESCO buildings, and Elie's entire site more enjoyable.
Existing conditions show a cobblestone and brick landscape,
[more coming soon]
Friday, July 26, 2013
We met with FAES and IDB about the bidding process for the Renovation of Elie Dubois. FAES accepted the Fiber Reinforced Polymer method as the final proposal to the rehabilitation of the historic building. The Request For Proposal documents will be published for competitors by end-of-August/early-July.
World Central Kitchen (WCK), an organization based in Washington DC and founded by Chef José Andrés, is working on Ecole Elie Dubois' professional cooking curriculum and will also provide the school with a modern teaching kitchen in the basement of its 1913 historic building.
The new culinary program starts in the Fall of 2014 and has for goal to train the students at Ecole Elie Dubois as professional cooks who will contribute to the country's growing tourism industry. During his visit to Elie Dubois on Friday May 10, 2013, Brian MacNair from WCK mentioned the upcoming Marriot Hotel a few times*, confident that upon graduating from this program, Elie Dubois students could offer their professional services in such settings... In due time those students could also open their own restaurants, cafés and bars.
As Downtown Port-au-Prince is undergoing plans of redevelopment, MacNair suggested to add a space in the school's gardens for students of this program to sell their products and interact with clients. That way the program can become sustainable and students at Elie Dubois develop a sense of entrepreneurship. This place could be located on the ground floor and front porch of the future Science Laboratory building (C).
For more information on World Central Kitchen, please visit their website: http://new.worldcentralkitchen.org/
Above Chef José Andrés, Sister Josette and her colleagues at École Élie Dubois (image source: World Central Kitchen).
Above Representatives of World Central Kitchen, The Grameen Creative Lab and Architecture for Humanity on a Site Visit in May.
*The Marriott Hotel is currently under construction and will open in 2014. The construction site is in Haut-Turgeau, right by the Digicel high-rise building. The Marriott Hotel is partly funded by the Digicel Foundation, an influential telecommunication company which also funded the reconstruction of the Iron Market, an important public space and historical building Downtown Port-au-Prince.
It is inevitable to think about the overall plans for Downtown Port-au-Prince as we are working on École Élie Dubois. Although the master-plan of Elie Dubois will be established upon how much funding this project receives, it is easy to daydream about what could become of the school, as it ties into the government's development plans for Downtown Port-au-Prince.
Ecole Elie Dubois is located in the "Zone Commerciale" or commercial district of Downtown Port-au-Prince. In that part of town, commercial buildings are characterized by facades with arcades covering large sidewalks, providing shade to pedestrians and protecting them from rain. However, as an institution, Ecole Elie Dubois property lines are defined by a perimeter wall. Same goes for other institutions in its surroundings: Institut Saint-Louis de Gonzague, the National Library...
Although the Haitian law requires that walls mustn't surpass 1.5 meters, safety reasons have made it imperative for property owners to surround themselves with very thick and tall walls. Whenever political problems have caused turmoil in the country, Downtown Port-au-Prince has often suffered from riots and looting. While most business owners decided to move to Pétion-Ville, many congregational institutions have remained Downtown, and resorted to safety measures to protect themselves.
Institut Saint Louis de Gonzague, also located on Rue du Centre (the metal chapel was the only structure to have survived the 2010-01-12 earthquake at St Louis de Gonzague), built up their walls but Ecole Elie Dubois did not.
Elie Dubois' nuns are still however concerned about safety. They prefer that their chapel and new residences (Phase 3) are located away from the perimeter walls.
The rehabilitation of l'Ecole Elie Dubois has suffered from the impression that it should meet a certain budget which was under-calculated for the amount of work that needs to be done. Additionally it undermined the potential of design that could be applied to bring back the glory of this special gem Downtown Port-au-Prince. [more coming soon]
Meanwhile bringing back designs of an exterior ramp and staircase down to the basement level.
This week, Architecture For Humanity and Genie Structure d'Ayiti submitted a letter to FAES strongly recommending the use of Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) to reinforce the historic building of Elie Dubois.
Dany Tremblay, our engineering consultant from Génie Structures d'Ayiti recommends this system because not only does it perform as well as shear walls during a powerful earthquake, its installation is less invasive to the original structure.
It takes less time to install FRP than it does to destroy existing masonry walls and replace with shear walls.
Cimenterie Nationale d'Haiti came to visit Elie Dubois and reiterated their interest to fund not only Phase 2 of this project but also Phase 3, which consists in building a Chapel and dormitories for the nuns, a science building, an infirmary, and a room for the school's guardian.
For the structural reinforcement of Elie Dubois, we were hopeful that the use of Fiberglass and Carbon Fiber Wrapping techniques would allow us to be less invasive on the original structure, and save time during the renovation work. However, FRP techniques have not been used much in Haiti, especially in the case of historic renovations. The building industry in Haiti is more familiar with the use of concrete.
Moving forward, FAES and the MTPTC decided to use the Shear Wall proposal. This approach will open up the bidding process to more local contractors and allow for a more certain rehabilitation of the historic building.
Four representatives of World Central Kitchen visited Elie Dubois with Claudine François from the Grameen Creative Lab and Fabrice Joubert, local hotelier specialist. Their goal is to provide a modern teaching kitchen to the school...
Ministere des Travaux Publics, Transport et Communications (MTPTC)
Architecture For Humanity:
Kate Evarts, Nathalie Jolivert
Ministere des Travaux Publics, Transport et Communication:
Ingénieur Raymond Hygin, Ingénieur Fritz Auplan
Génie Structures d'Ayiti:
MTPTC approved the proposals we submitted for the rehabilitation of Ecole Elie Dubois. They will send an official letter to the Ministere d'Education for the project to move forward.
Laboratoire National du Bâtiment et des Travaux Publics
Rue Toussaint Louverture # 27, Delmas 33, Haïti
Ministère des Travaux Publics, Transport et Communication (MTPTC): Ingénieur Raymond Hygin
Architecture for Humanity (AFH): Kate Evarts
Architecture for Humanity (AFH): Nathalie Jolivert
Génie Structures d'Ayiti (GSA): Dany Tremblay
Fonds d'Assistance Economique et Sociale (FAES): Merly Liburd
Inter-American Development Bank (IDB): Christoph Reisen
Goal of Meeting:
Submit two structural proposals to the MTPTC's engineer Raymond Hygin.
Raymond Hygin and his team will evaluate the two proposals and provide an answer on which to apply for bid by Friday, May 3.
Fonds d'Assistance Economique et Sociale FAES
Delmas 75 # 1, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Architecture for Humanity AFH: Nathalie Jolivert
Fonds d'Assistance Economique et Sociale FAES: Merly Liburd
Inter-American Development Bank IDB: Christoph Riesen
Inter-American Development Bank IDB: Antine Legrand
Goal of Meeting:
To discuss our second structural approach: applying Fiber Glass and Carbon Fiber Wrapping to the perimeter walls of the building.
Present both proposals to MTPTC:
1- The shear wall proposal
2- The fiberglass/carbon-fiber wrapping proposal
Ask for their prompt response on which to choose for the bid.
La Maison Dufort, located in the 3eme Avenue du Travail...
When asked for alternatives in structural approaches to reinforce the historic building of l'Ecole Elie Dubois, Dany Tremblay of Genie Structures d'Ayiti suggested the use of carbon fiber wrapping, a relatively new technique in the building industry. In Haiti, the construction firm Panaxus is certified to use this material, which they applied in two areas of the Digicel high-rise building and another commercial building in Pétion-Ville.
Jose Andres, widely acclaimed chef, renown for his PBS show "Made In Spain", will contribute to Ecole Elie Dubois by providing a modern kitchen to its students. This work will be done through his foundation "World Central Kitchen".
The budget allocated to the renovation of Ecole Elie Dubois permits a structural reinforcement that would guarantee the life safety of the building's occupants, in the event of an earthquake. However the building would no longer be functional, and could require to be demolished. As suggested by Dany Tremblay (Génie Structures d'Ayiti), for an amazing performance during another powerful earthquake, the school Elie Dubois would have to be reinforced with a base isolation system. So far, only two other historic buildings in Haiti may be restored with this system. They are the Miragoane Cathedrale (Département des Nippes) and the Cathédrale St Philippe St Jacques in Jacmel (Département du Sud-Est).
For a building of École Élie Dubois' scale, a base isolation system could easily cost a million dollar to install...
In an article published on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (U.S.C.C.B.) website, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, a member of the subcommittee and chairman of the USCCB’s Haiti Advisory Group confirms the capacity of a base-isolation system to keep a building intact during a powerful earthquake:
“The base-isolation reinforcement of the co-cathedral in Miragoane is touted as a cutting-edge technology in Haiti, and will not only prevent deaths in a future earthquake but will also help save the historic cathedral,” [...]
An explanation of Seismic Base Isolation Systems by "Bridgestone.com" supplier of this product:
To reduce the potential damage caused by earthquakes, past methods increased the building rigidity by adding shear walls or braced frames. The "Seismic Base Isolation System" is a flexible approach for isolating the structure from the ground, reducing seismic shock propagation into the structure.
In addition to reducing the chance of structural damage, the "Seismic Base Isolation System" also minimizes secondary damage to equipment inside the building such as computers, precision instruments, medical equipment and communications systems.
The "Seismic Base Isolation System" is installed between the ground and the upper structure.
In the schedule we submitted to FAES on February 19 2013, we suggested the month of April for the bidding process, and 6 months for construction (May-Oct. 2013). Today, FAES and IDB confirmed that they received our bid documents, which they have submitted to the Ministere des Travaux Publics, Transports et Communications (M.T.P.T.C.) for their final approval.
The structural work required to reinforce the building, is very costly and we have to either take a different structural approach or cut back on the architectural work. Upon the proposal to demolish the 1970's balcony on the Eastern side of the school (which affected the original 1913 masonry structure during the 01/12/10 earthquake, by pulling in a different direction) we may have to dismiss the idea of building a new balcony. Instead, all vertical circulation could occur inside the building with a second means of egress via a fire escape on the Southern side of the building.
From November 2012 to February 2013, the structural company Génie Structures d'Ayiti (G.S.A.) has evaluated the Élie Dubois historic building. This process consisted in punching holes in the existing concrete slabs, beams/columns to analyze the existing network of rebar, and climbing up to the roof to analyze the wood structure.
After the general assessment of the building, G.S.A. recommended a structural reinforcement of shear walls, strip footings, and the radical yet necessary demolition of the 1970's concrete balcony located on the Eastern side of the building. The concrete balcony pulled on the original 1913 structure during the earthquake and rendered the building more vulnerable to lateral forces.
Existing concrete porch and balcony on the East:
Inaugurée le 3 décembre 1913, l'Ecole Elie Dubois doit son nom en référence au ministre de l'Education nationale qui avait créé un nombre considérable d'établissements scolaires à travers le pays. Il s'agit précisément de François-Xavier Elie Dubois. Educateur prestigieux et remarquable, il incorpora l'apprentissage des métiers manuels dans le nouveau curriculum. «Le développement de l'intelligence va de pair avec les grandes habiletés techniques et professionnelles», disait-il. Et c'est par décision du gouvernement que prit naissance à Port-au-Prince ce centre scolaire qui célèbre tous les 3 décembre son anniversaire à l'occasion de la fête de Saint François Xavier.
Depuis sa création, l'Ecole Elie Dubois, raconte la révérende Sr Marie-Thérèse (Sulette Rousseau), directrice de l'Etablissement et Supérieure de la Communauté des Filles de Marie que nous avons rencontrée, n'a jamais failli à sa mission d'agir avec circonspection en faveur d'une école multi confessionnelle d'excellence. Tout au plaisir de faire le récit de la non moins passionnante histoire qui est attachée à l'Institution Elie Dubois, la Soeur Marie-Thérèse explique que le local était un bâtiment appartenant à l'Etat. Lors de l'incendie qui ravagea le Palais national, cette maison, pour son confort et son cadre idéal, convenait mieux pour abriter les présidents Michel Domingue et Nissage Saget.
L'histoire de la création de l'Ecole Elie Dubois se raconte comme une comptine: le gouvernement de Tancrède Auguste avait un ambassadeur du nom de Riboul de Pescaye en Belgique. Il avait participé à une grande exposition des travaux de broderie, de couture et de métiers proprement féminins à l'époque. Le diplomate a été émerveillé de voir la qualité des jeunes. Il demanda à son gouvernement d'entreprendre des négociations auprès de la Congrégation des Filles de Marie en Belgique. La mère générale à l'époque s'appelait Soeur Marie Vincentia. Un contrat a donc été signé en juillet 1913. Et l'équipe qui devait commencer la mission en Haïti était composée de religieuses et de laïques. Le 17 octobre 1913, elles sont rentrées en Haïti. L'Ecole a ouvert ses portes avec de très faibles moyens financiers le 1er décembre 1913 et l'inauguration eut lieu le 3 décembre de la même année.
L'EED à l'origine...
«C'était à l'origine une école professionnelle où on enseigna aux jeunes filles les rudiments de la grammaire, des sciences et du français. Avec le temps, des modifications ont été apportées dans le programme d'études. En 1927, le gouvernement a voulu qu'elle devienne une école normale primaire chargée de préparer des institutrices pour l'enseignement primaire», explique la directrice de l'EED qui dit garder encore l'option initiale, décernant ainsi deux (2) diplômes de sortie: l'un sanctionnant les études d'école normale et l'autre celles de formation professionnelle.
L'apport de l'Etat...
«Depuis 1914, l'Etat accordait entre 40 et 50 bourses d'études aux jeunes filles de la province admises à l'Ecole Elie Dubois, notamment celles qui n'avaient pas pied à terre à Port-au-Prince. Les bourses étaient obtenues sur concours. Les lauréates pour chaque département étaient retenues. Ce qui donnait lieu à l'existence d'un pensionnat», s'est rappelée, nostalgique, la soeur Marie-Thérèse qui déplore amèrement le fait que depuis quelque temps ce régime n'existe plus, puisque l'Etat a cessé d'honorer son engagement, en dépit de ses différentes démarches.
Une école normale dans la ligne des CEFEF
Dans le cadre de la réforme éducative initiée conjointement par le ministère de l'Education nationale et la Banque mondiale en 1979-81 et qui définit des critères pour une école normale d'instituteurs rénovée, le pays accusait une carence énorme à ce niveau. Il fallait intensifier le programme, moderniser le curriculum selon les exigences d'un véritable Centre de formation pour l'Ecole fondamentale (CEFEF). L'Ecole Elie Dubois, à ce compte, est devenue une école professionnelle et technique aux côtés des Ecoles normales de Martissant et du Cap-Haïtien. Et c'est à ce niveau que l'Etat apporte son soutien financier qui permet à l'institution de faire face à certaines de ses obligations envers les enseignants. Cette assistance produit des effets déterminants sur les contributions des élèves: en début d'année, elles paient seulement des frais d'entrée pour les apprentissages et non des mensualités.
Comment devient-on élève à Elie Dubois?
Les conditions d'admission sont très simples: réussir en 9e A.F., s'inscrire et subir un examen. La durée des études classiques est de 4 ans. Elle est de 3 ans pour les études professionnelles qui se tiennent dans l'après-midi jusqu'à 3 hres p.m.
Un institut professionnel et technique
Depuis la réforme de 1979, Elie Dubois se veut un institut professionnel et technique avec deux (2) filières de formation professionnelle: l'habillement pour dames et l'art décoratif. Selon la capacité de sa structure, elle reçoit 25 à 30 élèves par classe sur la centaine reçues à l'inscription.
«Nous nous contentons d'enseigner la couture simple en attendant que nous puissions avoir d'autres filières pour la nouvelle génération», reconnaît la directrice qui dit travailler sur le projet d'une filière touristique.
A cause de la fermeture obligée du pensionnat, moins de jeunes filles de la province fréquentent Elie Dubois. Celles qui y sont admises viennent des écoles congréganistes, notamment Ecole NDPS, Externat (de la rue du Peuple).
Le charisme de la Congrégation des Filles de Marie qui a fêté ses 200 ans le 17 octobre 2004 et dont la fondatrice est Cicercule Paridaens (d'origine belge), c'est l'éducation. «En religion, elle est mère Marie-Thérèse, d'après une pratique au XVIIe siècle selon laquelle on devrait changer son nom civil», indique la soeur Sulette Rousseau qui souligne le fait que cette congrégation n'est présente qu'en Belgique et en Haïti. «La branche d'Haïti est plus vigoureuse, puisque les soeurs belges vieillissent. Nous avons deux bureaux en République Dominicaine, à New York et un au Canada», se réjouit-elle comme pour mettre au bilan sa congrégation qui ambitionne d'essaimer un peu partout.
Au nom du Seigneur et/ou de la Vierge, la danse, le sport, le théâtre, le dessin, la peinture... se pratiquent à Elie Dubois. « A part le primaire, le professionnel et le secondaire (CIM, Collège du Sacré-Coeur), nous avons le niveau supérieur», s'enorgueillit la Soeur Marie-Thérèse qui précise que le CEFEF est affilié à l'Université Notre-Dame D'Haïti (UNDH). «Le diplômé du CEFEF peut décrocher sa licence après un (1) an à l'UNDH. En République Dominicaine, notre enseignement professionnel est plus structuré», ajoute-t-elle en précisant que sa Congrégation a, sur le modèle de l'Institut de Formation professionnelle (INFP) du MENJS, son Institut de formation technique et professionnelle (INFOTEP) reconnu par le ministère de l'Education nationale dominicain. Qui dit mieux?
Robenson Bernard pour Le Nouvelliste
Before settling down to the modest architectural decisions submitted for bid, due to the emphasis on an expensive structural reinforcement, below were some of the design explorations performed. They suggested excavating around the building and allowing access to the basement level, via an ADA ramp. While the renown Chef Jose Andres has had in mind to donate a modern kitchen to the school, it originally felt important to valuate the entrance to the basement.
Balcony Paint Color Scheme
The East Façade of Ecole Elie Dubois will have a new back porch and balcony, with two staircases. Below is an image with a possible color scheme.
Etude de Couleur de Peinture pour le Balcon
La Façade Est de l'Ecole Elie Dubois sera munie d'une nouvelle gallerie et d'un nouveau balcon, avec deux escaliers.
Current East Façade | Façade Est Existante:
On Thursday, March 14 the bid documents were submitted to the Fonds d'Assistance Économique et Social (FAES). Here is the cover page of the package:
Yesterday we visited the site with our structural engineering consultant so the structure of the historic building could be analyzed. The ISPAN building is 99 years old; the goal is to finish the project by the buildings 100th birthday. Historic preservation is not common practice in Haiti, so we are excited to have such a unique project. We await the structural engineer's proposal to identify which parts of the building need to be rebuilt/strengthened.
An interesting find: the roof trusses were constructed without the use of nails. They are connected with wooden pegs instead.
Today we delivered to FAES 2 original signed versions of the contract between FAES and AFH for the work of the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the main historic classroom building at the school. The design work has a schedule of 90 days from the receipt of the first payment of this contract. The construction phase is scheduled for 8 months.
The contract must be counter-signed, and payment issued.
This has taken over 12 months to finalize and we understand the process of using FAES as a middleman is no longer the way these disbursements are handled. Typical that this very visible and important restoration project has borne the brunt of too much bureaucratic love.
The drawings still need structural review and subsequent completion. Someone asked me the other day how we have managed to run a busy architectural office for 8 months without any structural engineer, I won't tell you what I said.