Update: Duany Flat Pack Haiti Cabins


A few weeks ago, we mentioned the strong flat pack prefabs designed by Andrés Duany for Haiti.  That effort is moving forward, and we've been able to catch a photo of a built prototype (see above).  InnoVida Holdings, LLC, manufacturer of the lightweight fiber composite panels used to build the prototype, today announced plans to build a factory near Port-au-Prince and donate 1,000 of these houses to Haiti.  It's a massive endeavor that could lead to the production of 10,000 homes per year and 250 direct jobs in the country. 


The manufacturer has several different housing solutions, although this Andrés Duany cabin — Le Cabanon — is about 160 square feet and sleeps eight.  With InnoVida Panels, Le Cabanon can be built in a few days with no heavy equipment. 

According to The Miami Herald, which has a video showing NBA star center Alonzo Mourning comfortably standing inside one of these structures, each Haiti Cabin will cost about $3,000 to $4,000 to build.

InnoVida says the fiber composite panel used to build these homes is waterproof and mold- and insect-resistant.  It's also fire-resistant and hurricane tested and approved for winds up to 156 mph.  The 2.5-inch wall panel has an R-value of 14.6, while the 4-inch wall panel has an R-value of 23.7. 

With these numbers, the panel might just catch on in energy-efficient home building circles here in the U.S.  What do you think?



[+] Learn more about these Haiti housing solutions.

Media credits: © InnoVida Holdings, LLC.

  • Anonymous

    Looks like a great temporary solution, but it appears they are marketing it as more than just a temporary solution?

  • Anonymous

    This is the last thing Haiti need, more CRAP to deal with. Look like people are still using Haiti as their own Private Bank Account. Shame….

  • Anonymous

    Wow. This week it’s almost 90 degrees in PAP, with thunderstorms every day. I can imagine many more climatically-responsive design solutions than these overly insulated boxes. Air movement will be difficult to get through these spaces, especially if the ‘door’ is closed. I appreciate the design considerations of being readily deployable, hurricane tested, insect resistant, etc, but will people really live in them? I doubt it. I see very little evidence that the designers have considered the lifestyles and traditional designs of the people of Haiti in their work. The non-Duany solution that Innovida developed- the Horizon house- seems like a better design, in my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Glad to see something happening, But with 30,000,000 shipping containers lying around the world, we can’t understand why they are not being used for relief accommodation. Our SMALLisSMART HOUSE,constructed from a single 40ft container can accommodate people immediately at low cost and they can progressively fit out the house which of course is cyclone and earthquake resistant. Our prototype proves that container housing is not slum dwelling. We have a 7 container luxury house to be featured on the popular TV show Grand Designs. Have a look at it on our website http://www.fultonsalomon.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/roblimo Robin Miller

    Hmmm…. If you could build a 600 – 800 sq. ft. “Americanized” version of this for $20,000 or so, it would be a great replacement for many of the older mobile homes in Florida. I might buy one myself one day. My wife and I live in a much-modified (hurricane-hardened and well-insulated) single-wide trailer built in 1959. It’s solid and we like it, and we like our little lot (which we own outright in Fair Lane Acres, Manatee County FL) and our neighbors. But I can also see us trading up to something like this if the price was right…

  • http://www.elementalled.com/ Elemental LED staff

    Good to hear that this will at least produce some jobs in Haiti, as opposed to just shipping in ready-made products. And isn’t the fact that they’re insulated mean it can keep heat out? Isn’t the function of insulation to protect the inside temperature from the outside temp.?

    • Anonymous

      Yes, I don’t mean to say that insulation is a bad thing altogether. It’s just that in Haiti, as in many hot and humid climates, the best passive design strategies deal more with shade and keeping air moving through a space, rather than closing it off (any passive design handbook will give more details on this). Inside, there will be a lot of heat & humidity being produced (from people, cooking, bathing, etc), so it’s not likely that these spaces will stay cool just because they are insulated from the outside. If you look at some vernacular housing strategies from this region, you’ll see that insulation isn’t the priority in these climates. Of course, that’s all assuming that these houses won’t have air-conditioning systems, but maybe I’m wrong about that?

      • alan scouten

        Insulation and Ventilation go hand in hand. I live in Virginia and keep my SIM panelized house cool all summer without air conditioning. The secret is in the person who lives there. Their knowing when and where to open and close what. Passive conditioning does not mean falling asleep while a thermostate does the work. A true VENThouse keeps hot air out while cycling cool air from shaded areas via the principal of the atomizer. Duany’s wall panels are okay (although Polyisocynonate is HIGHLY toxic…) but the design IS everything but naturally climatized. see http://www.shelterusnow.com and its VentHOUSES.

        • http://www.shelterusnow.com alan scouten

          ps. For more info on panels that are lighter than Innovida’s and do not use toxic glues or cores for construction go to http://www.shelterusnow.com where SIM panels permit shelters for Haiti for a couple grand that are flat-packed permanent components of any design the designer chooses.

  • Steve

    Same size as a short cargo container which already exists in abundance.

  • http://sanantoniosustainableliving.blogspot.com/ Wayne Thomas

    There’s lots more to these panels. They are lightweight but strong, much lighter than wood skinned SIP’s. They can be used for sub-floors, interior and exterior load bearing walls, beams and columns as well as for built in furniture. The panels don’t require sheathing and can be finished outside and in with paint. Imagine a tiny Tumbleweed style home on a trailer made with these panels. It would be much much lighter, stronger and much more energy efficient, and unlike other SIPs these can be installed without a crane. Check out the InnoVida website or their videos on YouTube for inspiration.

  • Anonymous

    When the next earthquake or hurricane hits they can just close the door and bury the inhabitants. This is an insult to the people of Haiti – despite the cute paint job. I am an architect and I think Duany should use his quite capable mind to solve the real problems of permanent housing in Haiti. There are affordable, permanent solutions. THINK

    • alan scouten

      Write-on. Give us some examples? That hurricane is on its way and USAID
      (our global FEMA) is, like Brownie, on-the-case. NOT!

  • lysander

    some talk
    some do

  • Archi-torture

    Duany strikes again…

  • http://www.findprefab.com Panelized Homes House

    The shapes are awesome as well as the design of the home.

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