An American student has won the International Student Open Design Competition, supported by John McAslan + Partners and Allied London, for a new music studio facility in Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Christopher Morgan from Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia saw off 108 entries to land the RIBA -backed contest - launched before the devastating earthquake hit the country on 12 January - to design an educational studio centre for hip-hop musician Wyclef Jean’s charity Yéle Haiti.
Morgan will share the £1,000 prize fund with second place Tak Kei Yip, a RIBA Part II student at Foster + Partners, London; and third place Christopher Bradley, a post-Part I Experience student at Norton Mayfield Architects, Sheffield.
According to the judges Morgan’s victorious Broadcast Studio ‘reached into the spirit of the Haitian people and aimed to empower the people of Cité Soleil with the opportunity to make music with life’.
The design features two performance spaces - one opening towards the park and nearby waterfront and another enclosed space which connects to Radio Boukman, the local radio station.
Wyclef Jean, founder of Yéle Haiti, said: ‘My concept for the Yéle Music Studio in Cité Soleil was to combine making music with vocational training for youth interested in the music business. After the earthquake the architectural competition to design the studio became an ‘ideas’ competition. The winning design was able to engage the community by incorporating an outdoor performance space. This connection with the local community really caught the spirit of what Yéle is all about.’
John McAslan, chairman of John McAslan + Partners, said: ‘Thank you to everyone who entered the competition and congratulations to the three winners for their highly innovative proposals, which were chosen from over 100 submissions of a very high standard indeed.
‘While the competition was initiated prior to the devastating earthquake which took place in January, its spirit is very much in keeping with the recovery efforts underway in Haiti at the moment. It is hugely important that micro-enterprise is instigated as part of the current rebuilding - helping communities to work together to create long-term change, especially for young Haitians under 21 years, who make up half the population. Clearly, it may be some time before we can realise the potential of a project such as this, while the city recovers from the immediate destruction that has occurred, however we hope that our project inspires hope that anything is possible.’