Colonial Architecture & history....
|"We shall never have genuinely civilized cities, communities or houses, without first
seeking to understand the true function of architecture, and its relation to the
realization of individual potentialities and the achievement of
man's goal in society."
- Clifford D. Moller, Architectural Environment
and Our Mental Health, 1968
The architectural history of Haiti has nearly been lost. What many don’t realize, is Haiti was once known as
the "pearl of the Antilles" and had many prosperous years prior to Jean Claude Duvalier coming to power in
Not only is Haiti an example of how quickly and drastically a country can plummet under an unethical and
overpowering government, but it’s also a representation of how architecture often lives to tell the story.
Slide show of “Gingerbread houses” & architecture in Haiti: Click here for the slideshow
The World Monument Fund helped to restore some of the old Gingerbread houses after the earthquake, and here you
can view some pictures of the magnificent houses that have survived horrible dictatorships,
hurricanes, earthquakes and a country that descended into poverty: WMF: Haiti
“We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”
- Winston Churchill
Unfortunately one of the houses badly damaged in the 2010 earthquake was Jean and Ronald’s family
house in Leogane, the house that Ronald moved back to in 1984. Had the neighbor’s house not fallen on the family
house, it would have survived. The force of the other house falling onto it, broke it away from the foundation and
caused one side to collapse. Originally built in the late 1700’s, it had even survived the slave revolution when Saint-
Domingue became Haiti in the 1800’s, and many houses were burnt in the revolt.
It was finally decided to disassemble the house, as the brick foundation was badly damaged, and to try and reuse as
many pieces as possible to rebuild the house later. Currently the cypress beams, shutters, and
roofing materials are stored in Leogane, and Jean and Carrie hope to rebuild the house once other projects
are more developed.
Video: Haiti 1950 (10 minutes) Haiti 1950
|The Leogane, Haiti family house of Jean & Ronald, badly leaning after
|The Leogane, Haiti family house in the 1970's
(notice the streets are nicely paved!)
Good memories, prior to the earthquake...
Rum in the evening... nothing better!
Ronald read the newspaper by the window
each morning, where friends stopped by to
The dining area of the house, filled with
antiques, art, and family heirlooms - most of
which were stolen after the earthquake.
Ronald & Uncle Raymond in the courtyard
Jean & Daphnee visit
Uncle Raymond: 1926-2012
Lived his entire life in Haiti & stayed to protect
the family property when the rest of the family
fled to the U.S. to escape Duvalier's regime.
Ms. Sissy: Head caretaker of the house
A good cigar & powerful bug spray...
Beau Soleil projects are registered & located in Leogane, Haiti - Directing Office is located in the U.S.