DCN ARCHIVES

February 17, 2010

BLUESTORM TELE

Emergency architects from France and Quebec on the roof of the French Institute of Haiti.

Emergency Architects of Canada to aid in Haiti reconstruction effort

The Montreal-based Emergency Architects of Canada (EAC) are gearing up to undertake the initial phases of a reconstruction mission in Haiti in the wake of a $20,000 contribution by the BMR group of renovation centres.

Expected to last five to 10 years, the mission comes on the heels of a reconnaissance visit last month. Architects surveyed the devastation caused by the Jan. 12 earthquake and examined the condition of a number of buildings.

Two architects from Montreal and four from France took part. A structural engineer from Quebec made a follow-up trip to assess damage.

EAC said BMR’s contribution will help fund deployment of a four-person “intervention team” of engineers and architects who will collaborate on site in the coming weeks with Haitian colleagues.

The mission aims to build or rebuild infrastructure “with appropriate materials and methods” for a seismic zone. The magnitude 7 earthquake caused many buildings to collapse, including homes, public buildings and hospitals.

Claude Robert, architect in the field for EAC.

‘We don’t just want to fix some cracks in the wall,” said Bernard McNamara, president and founder of the Canadian charitable organization. “We want to upgrade these buildings so that they can better resist earthquakes in the future.”

Deployed professionals will work on the ground in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations and the Haitian government in addition to local building professionals.

McNamara, who previously was involved in post-tsunami reconstruction in Indonesia and Sri Lanka, said his organization will focus on smaller-scale projects in Haiti. One priority is rebuilding schools in the seaside city of Jacmel.

Founded in 2007, Emergency Architects of Canada are currently raising funds for the mission. The organization also is looking to recruit Canadian architects and engineers to lend a hand down the road.

The organization has representation from 20 architectural firms and 150 architects, primarily based in Quebec.

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