From political and socio-economic conflict, to a seemingly endless assault from Mother Nature, the people of Haiti have endured a past that would test the resolve of any culture. Over its long history this proud nation has been tested time and again proving that against all adversity, the human spirit overcomes. It is this cultural strength that we seek to embody with our Woven Tree proposal. The root of our design stems from Haiti’s traditional arts and crafts. We marvel at the intricate nature of its fabrics, the ever present sense of hope embodied in its paintings, the resourcefulness of its metal works. The people of Haiti are a skilled and creative force that inspires.
The tree, symbolic of this hope and perseverance, is often expressed in the art of Haiti. This emblem of the human spirit is the catalyst for our proposal. It is our belief that this new place of worship should be at one with the culture and traditions of the Haitian people. Therefore, we eschew the traditional archetypal style of the Cathedral, as well and any overtly modern approach in favor of one that resonates with Haitian culture and tradition. We begin by abstracting this symbolic tree of hope into a canopy shelter that captures the spirit of this iconic image. To do this, we deploy simple, but proven bamboo structures that weave together to form an elaborate and yet delicate structure under which the people gather and worship. This open air canopy rises from the old footings of the previous Cathedral and references its past by outlining the old structure as it sat on the site. This powerful connection marks a new beginning that grows from a stable and solid footing. In addition to the symbolic nature of our proposal, the nature of the woven design is very much intentional and pays homage to Haitian craft. Using these techniques, we are able to propose bamboo, a natural, strong and renewable material as both structure and finish. It is very important to us that the design communicate the skill of the Haitian people. Rebuilding this place of worship should be by the people and of the people. The Woven Tree aims to be a definitive expression of the remarkable people of Haiti.