Oregon architects design Haitian schools


The Oregon chapter of Architects Without Borders has teamed up with nonprofit BuildOn to design educational facilities with better seismic strength for Haiti.

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The Oregon chapter of Architects Without Borders has teamed up with nonprofit BuildOn to design educational facilities with better seismic strength for Haiti.

For the past year, Portland engineer Craig Totten of KPFF Consulting Engineers has worked with AWB-Oregon to inspect damaged buildings and teach Haitians seismically sound construction techniques. BuildOn, which constructs schools in poor communities around the world, heard about Totten’s work in Haiti and asked him to inspect several schools the nonprofit built there prior to the earthquake, according to Skyler Badenoch, manager of international programs for BuildOn.

The nonprofit’s schools featured a concrete block design and were made from inexpensive materials available locally; however, they don’t hold up well during earthquakes, Totten said.

“The schools are designed with shear walls that are too small and not adequately (designed) to survive an earthquake,” Totten said. “We’re looking at improving the schools structurally, as well as architecturally.”

Read more at the Daily Journal of Commerce.

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