Student Housing Standards

In the hopes of contributing to a more sustainable and prosperous nation, the Haitian Education Leadership Program (HELP), based in Port-au-Prince, recruits the brightest students from around the country that do not have the means to receive a quality education on their own. HELP offers scholarships to high school graduates for a college education, and provides their students with housing, access to their school textbooks, stipends for food and transportation, and supplemental enrichment curriculum. HELP is looking to expand the number of students they can enroll in their program in the hopes of contributing to a more sustainable and prosperous nation. The design team surveyed HELP’s existing dorms to analyze the challenges and opportunities for dignification and expansion. The lack of regulation and guidelines for student housing, and the absence of comparable building typologies in Haiti, meant the team worked with best practices and studied comparable projects outside of Haiti. To reach HELP’s goals of reducing overall costs and providing support to more students in Haiti. The team used design exercises to determine the ideal room types, their sizes, and the amenities that will better support a collaborative, thoughtful, and creative student environment. The resulting Space Standards can be used to test fit the student dormitories poised for renovation, as well as standards for new construction. The team used the standards to study how to increase the quality and capacity of the Croix des Prez dormitory. The proposed design includes a renovation to the existing dormitory, and the construction of a new dorm facility with a new sanitation block.


    Haitian Education & Leadership Program (HELP)




    Port Au Prince, Haiti


    August 2018

  • TYPE

    Education, Dormitory


    Feasibility Study, Prototype Design, Design Standards, Architecture


    Project Completed at Build Health International

Project Success Factors


The team used the information from the Infrastructure Report and Design Standards to determine the feasibility and design options for housing more students in a higher quality of space on the Croix des Prez site. The team priced out the project and provided preliminary phasing options for HELP to understand the overall cost and impact on their operations.


The proposed project includes renovating the existing Croix des Prez dormitory to incorporate the standard room sizes and improve the quality of personal storage and communal space. A new, two story sanitation block will be constructed in the back of the site, forming a courtyard that will be programmed with a compost garden, laundry area, recreation space, outdoor kitchen, and dining and study area. A new, 32-bed dormitory will be constructed in the back of the site, connected to the existing building and new sanitation block with semi-enclosed walkways.

Community Engagement

It is critical to understand the needs of the students and the organization to best design space standards. The HELP community was an essential partner in the project process. The design team worked with the HELP leadership to understand their project aspirations and challenges. The students perspective was captured through guided tours, conversations and surveys. Discussions with the HELP Dormitory managing personnel were also conducted to explore the day to day issues experienced in the operation of the existing dorms. Throughout the design process the team presented to the HELP community to get their feedback and refine the design.


The project will allow for improved housing conditions for students to promote healthier living and more suitable conditions for learning. Through renovation and new construction, HELP will be able to house additional students and grow their program. These designs are intended to be used as a reference for future feasibility studies of new and existing student dormitories in Haiti.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality