Cholera—a curable, preventable disease—did not exist in Haiti before the earthquake of 2010. The GHESKIO health center asked MASS Design Group to design a permanent facility to replace temporary cholera treatment tents.

The Cholera Treatment Center creates its own water and sanitation infrastructure. A rainwater catchment system collects and filters water. The building can sanitize more than 250,000 gallons of wastewater a year, preventing sewage from contaminating the water table.

Naturally daylit and ventilated, the Cholera Treatment Center helps sick patients heal with dignity. All building materials were chosen for their durability, infection-resistant properties, and/or ability to withstand extensive washing with chlorine.

Content from the exhibition Design and Healing: Creative Responses to Epidemics, curated by MASS Design Group and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum


GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2015
Architectural and Furniture Design: MASS Design Group (Boston, Massachusetts, USA, founded 2008); Partner: Les Centres GHESKIO; MASS Design Group Project Manager: Andrea Panizzo; Structural Engineer: Matt Sisul, YCF Group s.a.; Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing; Engineer: Mazzetti; Lighting: LAM Partners; Civil Engineer: Fall Creek Engineering, Inc.; Facade Design: Nathan King and Jonathan Grinham with the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design’s Center for Design Research; Contractor: YCF Group and TECINA s.a.

A glowing angled building with zigzagging roofline at dusk; light bleeds through perforated panels on the facade

Photograph © Iwan Baan

A light blue trapezoidal building with pointed roofline and angled stairs, its facade covered in a perforated panel with square holes of various sizes checkered in several shades of blue

Photograph © Iwan Baan

Aerial photograph of an urban environment showing small dense buildings on one side of a wide street and a blue and white angled hospital building on the other

Photograph © Iwan Baan

Schematic axonometric diagram illustration explaining architectural elements and their functions towards creating a contained water system

Drawing: MASS Design Group (Boston, Massachusetts, USA, founded 2008)


Sanitation Access in Port-au-Prince, Haiti
This map shows areas of the city in the greatest need of sanitation support.

Map view of Haiti with pale orange areas indicating access only to water and dark orange dots indicating access to both water and sanitation

Map: MASS Design Group (Boston, Massachusetts, USA, founded 2008)


Model, GHESKIO Cholera Treatment Center, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2021

On a gray background, a white three-dimension architectural model of a wide low building with zigzagging roofline and panels adorning the facade in shades of checkered blue

MASS Design Group (Boston, Massachusetts, USA, founded 2008); Model by GPI Models; Plastic modeling board, polycarbonate, acrylic; Courtesy of MASS Design Group


GHESKIO Cholera Cot, 2010
MASS worked with Herman Miller and GHESKIO to design innovative seats and beds for cholera patients, to dignify the patient experience. The bedding fabric can be removed for cleaning, allowing it to be reused safely. Fabricated locally by Haitian metalworkers, tailors, and fiberglass professionals, the furniture was designed to be comfortable, durable, safe, and hygienic.

On a gray veranda under a white pitched roof are several blue cots similar in size to beach chairs that can be angled up for patients to recline on them; at the center of each cot is a hole.

MASS Design Group (Boston, Massachusetts, USA, founded 2008) with Herman Miller (Zeeland, Michigan, USA, founded 1905); Plastic, metal; Courtesy of MASS Design Group

Featured Image: Photograph © Iwan Baan

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *