Arcahaie / 3D Panel “Crest”
“What we wanted to create was a ‘cave’ on the tropical terrace…that could naturally cool and provide shelter considering all of Haiti’s climatic/seismic conditions.”
The Crest building, utilizing the 3D Panel construction system, was engineered and built by Signa Enterprises SA., for the ARN Foundation of Haiti’s nursery at Digue Matheux/Arcahaie. The Crest building was scheduled within the overall Private-Partner Alliance, established between the ARN Foundation and USAID/DEED, for the Montrouis watershed area. The building’s foundation was prepared in the fall of ’09 and all but the finishing paint was completed by the Jan. 12th earthquake. Though the earthquake’s epicore was located at Carrefour/Port-au-Prince, the 7.0 quake and after shocks damaged residences and institutional buildings throughout the Arcahaie region, 50 miles away. The Crest building remained unscathed by the earthquake and only reinforced the need for further 3D Panel construction in Haiti.
The 3D Panel system is an alternative building system, using prefabricated polystyrene panel, wire mesh. It becomes a structural wall when concrete, gunite, Portland cement, plaster and stucco are shotcreted into place. The strength of the 3D Panel system is enormous and is partially attributed to the truss wires which are welded to connect each side of the mesh to make a panel. The insulation in the center of the panel is suspended on the truss wires and becomes a continuous thermal break when panels are connected. The performance of the insulation thus is greater than the R-value rating because of the thermal-mass effect of the concrete on each side of the panel. The 3d Panel system is environmentally friendly, withstands extreme temperatures, earthquakes, hurricanes, and typhoons and is a recycled green product.
The training of Digue Matheux locals was a central aspect of the Crest building’s success. Since the 3D Panel system was a new construction method, hands-on training was provided by Signa Enterprise SA. who brought in certified engineers/technicians from the U.S. for instruction. At the Dec. 03, 2009 ARN Foundation ‘Open House’ commemorating the year’s achievements, those who took part in the 3D Panel instructions were given ‘Certification Awards’. For most of these young Haitians, it was the first certificate they had ever received, and has motivated them to continue on with their respective educational and professional work.