Ecole Nationale Jacob Martin Henriquez
It the wake of Haiti’s worst earthquake in two centuries, people around the globe sought ways to assist the devastated island nation. Gensler began by tackling a single project with significant impact: rebuilding a school. Partnered with Operation USA and Honeywell Corporation, the team worked to reconstruct the Ecole Nationale Jacob Martin Henriquez primary school in Jacmel. This school serves over 400 students in grades K-7 who could not otherwise afford primary education. Given the need for an immediate response, five Gensler team members traveled to Jacmel in the wake of the earthquake and spent four days learning about the unique set of design parameters stemming from the region. The team proposed a simple, single-story design that could be constructed by local builders. Everything from construction materials to furniture were sourced within Haiti to promote local growth. The design focused on a cost-effective approach in order to allow for replication by Haitian engineers and construction workers throughout the region. The construction process was used as a learning tool to teach local engineers about creating buildings capable of withstanding future disasters.