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To ensure viability, any housing model must be executable in Haiti by workers with minimal skill sets, while still achieving requisite quality control in an environment where oversight is lacking. Thus, E2E recognized the necessity to vet the feasibility of their housing models by having crews of students without formal construction experience build a full-scale prototype of each home on Notre Dame's campus using only the proposed structural drawings and construction sequences. This ambitious semester-long effort was a testament to the team's commitment and passion, as chronicled in the E2E April 2014 Newsletter! 


In preparation, E2E's students and faculty focused initially on the detailed design of various structural features of the housing model, including:

  • design of 5 different panel configurations with a simple and efficient pre-casting scheme

  • conception and design of a customized foundation for the geotechnical conditions in Haiti

  • development of a high-quality prefabrication process for steel reinforcing cages

  • design of simple connection details for the panel attachment to the structural frame

The strategies, lessons, and designs developed in the university environment were fed down to Haiti in real-time for evaluation and execution by a team of community builders and university staff, creating a valuable Innovation Exchange between the two countries. 


The design and construction of the E2E Expo prototypes, recognized by NCEES as one of the nation's top examples of collaboration between construction professionals and undergraduate students, was completed in the Spring 2014 semester, with casting of the primary structures completed in one week! The two full-scale prototypes that now stand on campus are not only a focal point for the university’s commitment to Haiti’s recovery, but more importantly yielded a standardized design that has already been replicated in Haiti by a local crew on the first of what is hopefully many homes. 


The public can now visit these prototypes as part of E2E's campaign to raise awareness about the housing crisis in Haiti and the teams’ efforts to deliver lasting solutions. Flip through the slide show above to witness the process for yourself.


“Constructing the prototypes taught us that engineering is not just science, math and technology, but in the end, engineering is about people. It is about dignity and human rights and security and justice. Our stories are true stories about people, allowing us to connect our calculations and numbers to movement and action…THIS is the heart of engineering.”  
-Erik Jensen
E2E Expo Foreman

See the Process

Learn how a collection of students built these two full-scale prototypes

NCEES Award Winning Project

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