Plaidoyer pour la mémoire ou comment mettre en scène la culture en architecture.

De quelle manière l’identité peut-elle être un catalyseur d’une architecture porteuse de sens, au service de la pérennité d’une mémoire collective? 

A l’heure de la mondialisation, il est de plus en plus courant que des communautés émergentes tentent de se réaffirmer sous le prisme de la modernité. Elles conçoivent ainsi souvent leur environnement bâti au détriment de leur propre identité culturelle. Sans réelles considération pour le contexte local, l’architecture perd  de son sens.

En partant du postulat que l’environnement bâti constitue le reflet de l’imaginaire collectif d’une société, il nous semble évident que l’architecture retrace l’histoire et la mémoire collective de ceux qui la construise. Cette architecture peut alors se prévaloir d’une responsabilité sociale qui, au travers des solutions inspirées de la culture de la société pourraient contribuer à la promotion de cette dernière.

On est alors porté à s’interroger sur la pertinence de l’identité acquise d’un lieu dans l’élaboration de l’architecture. Cette identité peut, au besoin servir d’outil créatif, analogique ou métaphorique et ainsi informer le processus architectural.

Cette idée accompagne la réflexion dans ce document de préparation au Projet Final (dans le cadre de la maitrise en architecture).

Par Isabelle Alice Jolicoeur

Isabelle_Jolicoeur_préparation au projet final

S.O.S. Centre-Ville _ 6 Pilot Urban Blocks surrounding “La Place Geffrard”

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While working at Studio Drum Collaborative, I was contracted by the Comité Interministériel de l’Aménagement du Territoire (CIAT) to participate in a series of workshops with the property-owners of S.O.S. Centre-Ville and work on a visual document for the guidelines of reconstruction Downtown Port-au-Prince. The project is looking at 6 pilot urban-blocks surrounding a public park called “La Place Geffrard”.

This project was featured in Haiti’s exhibition booth during the World Urban Forum 7 in Medellín, Colombia (April 2014).

posted by Nathalie Jolivert on 2014/05/31

Bois Jalousie and Petion-Ville

The picture below shows the high-end Rivoli building of Petion-Ville, in contrast with Bois-Jalousie… I had seen this type of contrast before from pictures in Brazil… kind of surreal to see it happen in your own country…

I was in Petion-Ville this past Saturday morning and looking at Bois Jalousie with all its newly painted walls, was ironically far more interesting than looking at traffic, walled-off restaurants and super-markets in Petion-Ville.  (more coming soon) rivoli bois jalousie

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Okap!

Cap-Haitien & Milot, North, Haiti

From now I make it a point of discovering at least one new place in Haiti every time I go. The last place I visited was the city of Cap-Haitien as well as the National Historic Park in Milot which includes the Palais Sans-souci and the famous Unesco Wolrd Heritage site: the Citadelle Laferrière.

Getting to the city was quite a feat: once you go through the city of Gonaives, the road can be quite tedious, especially when on the slopes of the morne Pilboro a bit before Cap-Haitien.What I always try to reflect on is how a traveler goes through places and from a point A to a point B in Haiti, and most importantly the experience he or she will remember.

For my experience, the lack of road signs made the travel quite frustrating. Yes asking locals and getting lost can be part of the experience, but at what point does the lack of touristic infrastructure and guidance can be too much? With the Carnival being now displaced more often to Haiti’s second largest city (that is Cap-Haitien) I hope there will be more awareness and actions on how we think about our point of entries, road signs, and other circulation tools and infrastructure.

On a better note, the Citadelle Laferrière was a delight to visit.

“The Citadelle Laferrière or, Citadelle Henry Christophe, or simply the Citadelle (in English, spelled Citadel), is a large mountaintop fortress in northern Haiti, approximately 17 miles (27 km) south of the city of Cap-Haïtien and five miles (8 km) uphill from the town of Milot. It is the largest fortress in the Americas and was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site in 1982—along with the nearby Sans-Souci Palace. The mountaintop fortress has itself become an icon of Haiti. The Citadel was built byHenri Christophe, a key leader during the Haitian slave rebellion, after Haiti gained independence from France at the beginning of the 19th century.”

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In other words, it’s our most important architectural heritage. From Milot, there is a clear touristic point of entry for informations, paying fees for access the monument, buying souvenirs (whose authenticity were questionable I am sorry to say) and partnering with a guide. For our greatest pleasure and thirst for history learning, we first wandered in the Palais Sans-Souci where it is said that the King Henri-Christophe, who ordered the construction of these monuments, took his own life away. Then we started going up the trail on horses.

I must admit my heart began to pound in my chest getting there. I was about to see the biggest most important monument in Haiti, built by slaves who defeated the French Empire in the 19th century! The first glimpse didn’t disappoint: the building stands tall and proud, strangely ressembling the prow of a ship on a calm sea, protecting and watching out for the country. The more I approached, the more I became aware of the scale of this symbol: 20 000 workers helped build it.

All images of the property of Isabelle Alice Jolicoeur.

First glimpse of the Citadelle.

Getting into the monument, we are guided through the different quarters and being informed of the hundreds of cannons and strategic design. What I was most impressed of (apart from the facts I mentioned above) was the integrated cooling system which allowed water from the top of the mountain to flow into gutters thus lowering the temperature all the way to the Palais Sans-souci (8km downhill).

As I was standing on the highest point in the Citadelle, more than the 900m separating me from the ground, I was overwhelmed by the two-centuries-old splendor and testimony of our heritage.

Isabelle A. Jolicoeur

08/08/2013

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For more images, please visit the Okap gallery here.

Pa bliye Nazon!

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On April 5 2013, Le Nouvelliste published images of the first highway to be built in the country. This highway will only be five minutes away from my house, and I could probably see it clearly from my hilly neighborhood… if it wasn’t for a tent community that’s overtaken the side of the hill.

Most people who come from the airport drive through Nazon (also known as Martin-Luther King) to reach other places in the city. Government officials inevitably drive through Nazon to reach the National Palace, Ministries and other offices. Yet this arterial road begins with the view of tarps sadly perched on the side of Morne Sylvio Cator.

More coming soon

Housing Without Developers

Originally posted on {FAVEL issues}:

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Last week Studio X Mumbai held a day long workshop provocatively titled “Housing without Developers”. As elaborated on their website, the workshop tried to challenge the seeming inevitability of market based solutions to problems that are themselves closely associated with the privatization of housing markets. The participants in the workshop discussed how the development of slum housing in India and public housing in the west challenges the accepted norms of market based solutions. This blog post does not sum up the many interesting points made by the housing activists, planners and academics at the workshop, but discusses a couple of concepts that got me thinking about housing and policy in the city.

Aspiration:

Its often argued that slum redevelopment schemes in Mumbai succeed as slum dwellers themselves “aspire” to live in apartments and are ashamed of the slums that they inhabit. Asher Ghertner terms this “Aesthetic Govermentality”. Liza…

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