Designed by YCF Group, in collaboration with ARCA Consulting and AFH Haiti (Architecture for Humanity), their proposal for the Notre Dame de l’Assomption draws on the life and culture of the Haitian people, while remembering the site’s history and the lives lost on January 12, 2010. Inspired by a Haitian fisherman’s boat, the project’s folded origami form aims links the new cathedral to the old cathedral’s former function as a lighthouse. More images and architects’ description after the break.
The cathedral is constructed from large trusses clad in recycled metal sheets, perforated by the artists of Croix de Bouquet with the pattern of the old rose window. The pattern permits diffuse light to enter the interior, creating a solemn and contemplative atmosphere inside.
A water catchment channel outlines the footprint of the former cathedral, and collected water is used in the Reflection Garden to the north of the cathedral, as well as to aid in passively cooling the interior. The double layer ventilated cladding helps to maintain a comfortable interior temperature, while openings along the bottom of the cladding draws in water-cooled air into the building. Next to the cathedral is a 60-meter tall bell tower containing the belfry and an observation deck that offers spectacular views of Port-au-Prince. The tower also serves as a beacon and icon for the city, becoming a point of orientation.
The landscape surrounding the cathedral is divided into several urban spaces – a formalized pattern of benches and trees, more urban in character, extends to the west and south of the cathedral. A grand staircase connects the lower level of the street to the plaza in front of the cathedral, and provides ample outdoor space for sermons.
The broader urban plan extends beyond the boundaries of the old cathedral, and encompasses the adjoining plaza. A bridge, on axis with the cathedral, physically links the two urban areas, and provides a peaceful transition between the busy larger square and the tranquility of the cathedral. This larger plaza consists of vendor kiosks, benches, and trees, and allows the life of the city to shape the space.
While many still live in misery, the House of God shall not shine spotless. Reflecting the struggle for the reconstruction, its lasting architecture alternates with makeshift materials like UNHCR tarps and corrugated metal sheet panels. The “provisional skin” will be replaced by the “permanent” as camps are cleared; therefore the Cathedral could function during the construction.
Architects: YCF Group
Location: Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Design Lead: Andrea Panizzo (YCF)
Collaborators: ARCA Consulting and Architecture for Humanity
Project Team: YCF: Andrea Panizzo, Yves Francois, Burtland Granvil, Elizabeth Lafontant, Taina Mayard; Architecture for Humanity: Nancy Doran, Peter Arnts, Laura Smits, Sven Kalim, Radim Tkadlec; ARCA Consulting: Vanni Puccioni, Lucia Alunni Grillini, Stefano Prinzivalli
Area: 2940 sqm
Date: May-November 2012