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Saving the Gingerbread District in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

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Saving the Gingerbread District in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

House of Vivian Gauthier. Photo by R. Langenbach.

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The Caribbean island of Haiti, the setting of the devastating December 2009 earthquake, has a rich and unique wealth of architectural heritage in the form of their “gingerbread houses.” This building form, named by American tourists in the 1970s, is composed of building types and stylistic forms which originated in France, where many of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Haitian architects were trained.

Stephen J. Kelley, AIA, NCARB, and principal of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc., has visited Haiti twice at the request of the World Monuments Fund in order to assess the condition of the Gingerbread House Historic District in Port-au-Prince after the earthquake and collaborate on approaches to preservation. Kelly presents information on this building heritage and his work to preserve examples of it.

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Presented Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

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