How can we design engaging and resilient buildings in the developing world?

William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center

Years in the making, the next chapter of the LEED Platinum William Jefferson Clinton Children’s Center in Haiti includes re-siting the building, refining the design and moving into construction, McLennan Design’s Green Warrior Society is pleased to continue this work on a probono basis with the USGBC, Delos and Fondation Enfant Jesus to provide a nurturing and inspirational place for children and families in need.

Thomas Knittel led the design (a role he started at HOK) 

Project Name  William Jefferson Clinton Childrens’ Center
Typology  Children’s Center
Location  Port au Prince, Haiti
Target LEED Platinum
Status  Under Construction
Size  6,600 sf
Client Fondation Enfant Jesus

View the article on the New York Times blog.
An interview with Thomas Knittel about the project in Zygote Quarterly.

Video Flythrough

Design Inspiration

The design inspiration is found in a keystone species, the Kapok tree, which holds a powerful meaning in Haitian culture. It has practical, medicinal uses and spiritual meaning through the connection of earth to sky. The visible translation occurs in the branching support system of the building’s balcony system as well as in the low emissivity, heat shedding characteristics of its second skin. Leonardo da Vinci observed the branching system of trees, where the mother limb is twice the area of the daughter limb branched pair. This simple empirical formula guides the design of the diagrid facing the courtyard.