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St. Louis de Gonzague Chemisry & Physics Building



St Louis de Gonzague , one of the most prestigious schools in Haiti, was founded in 1890 and initially located at rue du Centre, in downtown Port-au-Prince for students between the ages of six and 12. By 1930, St Louis de Gonzague offered degrees for secondary school. In the early 1970s, the director at that time, Brother Ephrem Le-Mat, built a new campus on previously acquired land in Delmas 33. Since then, the secondary school has moved to that new campus. All facilities on the campus was affected by the January 12, 2010, earthquake. The primary school was moved to the Delmas premises.


The chemistry/physics classroom building was damaged during the earthquake as well, and was considered for rehabilitation. A site visit was conducted to determine the extent of repairs needed for the structure.

The existing single story building provides approximately 463m2 (4983 sq.ft) accommodating the following spaces:

  • 2 Lecture Rooms

  • Physics Laboratory
  • Chemistry Laboratory
  • Storage Area


A walk-through was conducted inside and outside the structure to (1) visually assess the structural damage and (2) form a basis for any repairs. The vast majority of structural damage occurred to interior and exterior masonry shear walls. No destructive testing was performed to determine the nature of concealed conditions.


  • Building dimensions: 10 meter wide x 48 meter long

  • 1-story concrete columns that support reinforced concrete roof trusses
  • Infill masonry walls beneath concrete roof trusses, 4 interior locations in transverse direction, 3.6 meters tall
  • Reinforced concrete, folded plate roof slab, supported on top of the reinforced concrete roof trusses


In order to improve the safety and performance of the structure, as defined by the 2009 International Building Code, we recommend the following:

  1. Perform a geotechnical investigation to evaluate any necessary soil-related issues.

  2. Perform a structural analysis in accordance with 2009 IBC seismic standards and develop drawings and details necessary to repair the structure.
  3. Remove the 2 exterior transverse masonry end walls. Rebuild these 2 exterior transverse masonry end walls with reinforced masonry shear walls, relocating them inward to beneath the end reinforced concrete columns and concrete truss. Create a physical connection between the new walls and existing concrete structure. New foundations will be necessary beneath these 2 walls.
  4. Remove the 4 interior transverse masonry walls. Rebuild the 4 interior transverse masonry walls with reinforced masonry shear walls, and create a physical connection between the new shear walls and existing concrete structure.
  5. Remove at least 4 masonry wall sections between the concrete columns along each longitudinal perimeter wall. Rebuild these longitudinal wall sections with reinforced masonry shear walls, and create a physical connection between the new shear wall and existing concrete structure. Preliminary structural seismic calculations indicate the total length of shear wall needed in the longitudinal direction is as follows for each thickness of block under consideration:
    1. 20 cm block: 38 meters

    2. 25 cm block: 30 meters
    3. 0 cm block: 24 meters
  6. Remove interior slabs-on-grade as needed. Provide proper compaction of underlying soils per geotech recommendations, replace interior slabs-on-grade and theatre seating as needed.

Sources:, Rick Ehlert's site visit Report-April 2011


Delmas 33 Delmas 31


Project Details

NAME: St. Louis de Gonzague Chemisry & Physics Building
LOCATION: Delmas 33, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
START DATE: September 04, 2010
CURRENT PHASE: In construction
COST: $43000 USD (Estimated)
SIZE: 463 sq. m
PROJECT TYPE: Education Facility - Secondary School
CLIENT'S REPRESENTATIVE: Brother Farel, Brother Serge
DESIGN TEAM: Gerry Reilly
DESIGN FELLOW: Stephane Cherduville, Carl Harrigan, Burtland Granvil, Natalie Desrosiers