vendredi 18 décembre 2015

Architectural Association School of Architecture bamboo workshops in Haiti teach post-disaster construction techniques

The AA School is working with Quisqueya University, the Wynne Farm and ARUP through short workshops to design and build architectural projects contextualized for the climate of the Caribbean and the cultural vernacular of Haiti using bamboo. The country is plagued by a lack of lightweight materials in the built environment, the legacy of disastrous deforestation, and bamboo is a solution to the building supply shortage as well as the damaged ecology.
The AA Haiti Visiting School is built on the premise that the disproportionate devastation of the 2010 Port au Prince Earthquake was a disaster of engineering and deforestation, and not one of nature. In Haiti deforestation has destroyed rural economies and has removed lightweight timbers from the Haitian construction sector. In this present-day scenario, when Haiti’s forest coverage has reached 1.4%, many ecologists, architects and engineers are asking, ‘Can bamboo alleviate some of Haiti’s problems?’
For 2 years now the Architectural Association along with groups of overseas and Haitian students has been designing projects which are born out of site mappings in areas of Haiti and this information is used as design drivers in making projects as location specific as possible. To accomplish this, 3D modeling, cultural lectures from FOKAL (Fondasyon Konesans ak Libete) and CIAT (Comité Interministériel d’Aménagement du Territoire), climate analysis software, and the input of a structural engineer from ARUP refine projects which propose a seismic and climate resilient lightweight vision of a future Haitian built environment.
The deforestation that has afflicted Haiti fits into a global trend. In 2010 the World Resources Institute revealed that the planet has lost 85% of its forest coverage as a result of deforestation. In Haiti, deforestation has removed lightweight materials from the construction sector and this is a pattern being replicated around the world. Where developing countries would often use timber and bamboo, the cement block has taken precedence. Standard methods of construction for the majority of residential, commercial and civic structures in Haiti involve the use of non-reinforced concrete block and are executed by an unskilled labour force.
Such building practices are not unique only to Haiti, as a significant percentage of the developing world’s population inhabits buildings of similar attributes; structurally unstable buildings constructed without the oversight of knowledgeable and experienced engineers and architects. According to the UN-HABITAT in a 2012 study, around 33% of the urban population in the developing world in 2012, or about 863 million people, lived in slums, many of which are in areas exposed to huge seismic and hurricane risks.
The long term goal of the AA Haiti Visiting School, is to encourage a lightweight construction industry in Haiti. In this, local students are trained with the tools and knowledge required to design aesthetically to change the preconceptions of bamboo to the Haitian population and structurally to protect against hurricanes and earthquakes. We want to establish a means to procure lightweight materials to meet the demands of these designers, so they can source from a domestic procurement network that can sustainably treat and sell construction-grade bamboo, to a skilled labor force who have a knowledge of working with the material and the means to build for themselves and their own families at an overall cost less than the pre-2010 per sq ft cost of construction in Haiti.
For the third year we will be investigating the potential of bamboo, through experimental architectural design contextualized for the climate, culture and geopolitical complexities of this Caribbean paradise. Participants will be asked not only to create a vision for a specific site, activity and community, but design a structure that can act a catalyst for a change in a national relationship with the material. In the second stage of the program, one proposal will then be constructed in January 2017.


Ex-police commander in Haiti faces up to life in Miami cocaine case

An attorney for Claude Thelemaque says he deserves the same sentence — about four years — as the Haitian trafficker who ratted him out.
The defendant is among more than a dozen Haitians and Colombians charged with using the island to ship cocaine to the United States
A former commander in the Haitian National Police faces up to life in prison at his Miami federal court sentencing on Thursday for providing protection to smugglers who flew thousands of kilos of Colombian cocaine loads to Haiti that were eventually shipped to the United States.
Yet the defense attorney for 48-year-old Claude Thelemaque argues that such severe punishment is way out of line, noting the former officer's “boss,” a major Haitian drug trafficker, received only about four years in prison after he snitched on his client and other smugglers involved in his ring.
Defense attorney Albert Levin, in court papers, said it's “unfathomable” that prosecutors have deemed Thelemaque a “manager” to enhance his punishment but described the snitch, Rodolphe Jaar, as a “minor” player in a plea deal that says he was involved in smuggling only between 15 and 50 kilos of cocaine.
Indeed, at trial in August, prosecutors acknowledged in a court filing that three cooperating witnesses described Thelemaque as Jaar's “right hand man in providing security for the landing strip in Haiti” that allowed planes from Colombia and Venezuela to transport up to 6,000 kilos of cocaine loads between 2005 and 2012. Jaar, however, was not among those who testified against Thelemaque.
Thelemaque’s fate is not that unusual in the upside-down system of justice in U.S. drug-trafficking prosecutions: the first suspect to cooperate with the feds almost always gets the best deal.
Levin said he believes his client, who has family back in Haiti, deserves a sentence closer to Jaar's — about four years. Assistant U.S. attorneys Monique Botero and Kurt Lunkenheimer strongly disagreed in their court filing, arguining that U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams should not even reduce the advisory guidelines — life in prison — for Thelemaque’s offense.
In court papers, Levin said the prosecutors’ treatment of Jaar, who had been a major Haitian trafficker for more than a decade, is difficult to fathom because he “double-crossed” the Drug Enforcement Administration as an informant. In 2012, Jaar secretly stole 50 kilos from a 420-kilo cocaine load while tipping off federal agents about the deal so they could seize the rest and go after his co-conspirators.
At his sentencing last year, Jaar owned up to his transgression: “I admit I made a big mistake in my cooperation,” he said.
Three other defendants implicated in the case received heavier prison sentences: Francisco Anchio-Candelo, a Colombian trafficker, who received an 11-year sentence; Olgaire Francois, a former Haitian police officer, who also got an 11-year term; and Jairo Jaimes-Penuela, a Colombian trafficker, who was sentenced to 14 years.
Thelemaque, a one-time police commander who was whisked away to Miami in November 2014 after his arrest at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, was convicted of a single drug-trafficking conspiracy charge in August. He became the latest of more than a dozen Haitian law enforcement officers, drug traffickers and politicians to be taken down in a federal crackdown dating back more than a decade.
When Haiti flourished as a “narco-state,” Colombian cocaine smugglers would pay off local cops to protect their precious loads flown in on planes that landed at night on dirt roads illuminated by the headlights of police cruisers, according to U.S. authorities.
At Thelemaque’s one-week trial, federal prosecutors portrayed the veteran Haitian National Police officer as a member of a protection racket that provided security for thousands of kilos of Colombian cocaine transported to the island for final shipment to the United States.
Botero and Lunkenheimer, the prosecutors, said that Colombian and Haitian drug traffickers routinely hired the “best security” on the island — the Haitian National Police.
They said the Colombian traffickers knew Thelemaque by his alias, “Teleco,” as three of them testified against him at trial.
Prosecutors singled out the 420-kilo load of cocaine — about 925 pounds — that landed on a dirt road near the coast south of Port-au-Prince on Feb. 20, 2012, accusing Thelemaque of playing a key role on the security team. But Thelemaque's defense attorney, Levin, countered that his client was not even in Haiti on that date. He showed the jury his client's stamped passport to prove it.
Levin said that Thelemaque, who did not testify, was in Fort Lauderdale when the big cocaine load landed in Haiti and that he stayed in South Florida from Feb. 19-21 before returning home..
At trial, Levin confronted the three now-convicted traffickers — Anchio-Candelo, Jaimes-Penuela and Carlos Acevedo-Rincon — accusing them of misidentifying Thelemaque as “Teleco” in the hope of getting their prison sentences reduced.
Jaar, the one-time DEA informant who ran the ring’s trafficking operation in Haiti, told federal agents that Thelemaque had helped unload the February cocaine shipment — even though trial evidence showed the defendant wasn’t in the country.
The 12 Miami federal jurors, who deliberated for two days and indicated they could not reach a verdict three times, finally found Thelemaque guilty after the judge urged them to reach a consensus.
Jay Weaver: 305-376-3446, @jayhweaver
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article50221495.html#storylink=cpy