Haiti SoftHouse

Last year, we worked with Domes for Haiti and built ten domes for donation to Haitian orphanages.  We found that working on structures that were really needed was very motivational and rewarding. Now almost exactly a year later, we have begun construction on a series of softhouses, in collaboration with Haiti SoftHouse.

The softhouses, a series of transitional shelters, have been designed to stand up through tropical storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes.  They will provide a healthy environment with good air circulation.  Each single unit stands alone as an independent home, but they can also be combined to create a larger structure.  With high ceilings and a tall door, the 166 square foot interior of the softhouses will have a spacious and welcoming atmosphere.

The frames are constructed from galvanized steel pipe, which we have been cutting and bending in preparation.  The press we generally use to apply large grommets to tent corners has been altered easily to flatten pipe ends, allowing them to fit together well. Once built, the frames can be grounded directly into the earth using earth anchors, or secured to a poured cement platform.

The press is quite effective in flattening pipe ends.

The cloth will be a cheery 17 oz. lime green vinyl with orange doors – the same cloth that has been used in the colorful softhouse prototypes.  Vinyl is long-lasting and water-proof, providing flexible protection from the elements.

Right now we are waiting on a large order of lime green cloth, and weather that will allow the pipes to be cut outside.  With all those sparks flying, it’s really an outdoor sort of job.


In preparation for constructing many of these structures, Xan has built our preliminary SoftHouse.  The first softhouse is made out of our tent cloth rather than vinyl, which will give us a prototype to alter and tweak without using up any of the vinyl supply.  Once completed it will remain here, a 3-dimensional model of softhouse construction that will act as an example if we are to build more after this first batch.

To learn more about Haiti SoftHouse, follow these links:

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