John McAslan + Partners and Allied London have announced the winner of an international student competition to design a music studio in Cite Soleil (Port-au-Prince), Haiti, on behalf of Wyclef Jean and his charity Yele Haiti. The Royal Institute of British Architects competition was launched prior to the devastating earthquake on 12 January to help instigate micro-enterprise opportunities and job creation for at-risk youth in the Cite Soleil area.
The competition winner is Christopher Morgan from Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA, who along with second place winner Tak Kei Yip, a RIBA Part II student at Foster + Partners, London; and third place winner Christopher Bradley, a Post Part 1 Experience student at Norton Mayfield Architects LLP, Sheffield; will be awarded a share of a £1000 prize fund which has been donated by Allied London.
Christopher Morgan's winning design "Broadcast Studio" reaches into the spirit of the Haitian people and aims to empower the people of Cite Soleil with the opportunity to "make music with life." The design incorporates two performance spaces - one opening towards the adjacent park and nearby waterfront, and another enclosed space which connects to Radio Boukman, the local radio station. Offering itself as a place not only for musicians, but for all who wish to make a music community, "Broadcast Studios" is a place that is always open to the public through events. Musicians can perform as they record in the studio, which is elevated over the Cite Soleil to symbolise the empowering role of music.
Tak Kei Yip's proposal "Tent City" music studio is an architectural translation of Haiti's Tent City - a symbol of joy, unity and hope. This evocative use of the existing housing pattern impressed the judges.
Christopher Bradley's "The Air Brick" proposal is constructed from found materials and features an internal courtyard to be used as a recording or community performance area.
The ideas competition, which attracted 108 submissions from secondary/high school and university/college students from around the world, was judged on criteria including: their ability to act as a beacon for the local neighbourhood, to deliver 'a lot' for a limited budget, and for their economic, social and environmental sustainability. A shortlist of fifteen submissions was selected by a technical jury from John McAslan + Partners and Arup. The final winner, second and third placeholders were selected by Wyclef Jean and his team, and John McAslan.
"My concept for the Yele Music Studio in Cite Soleil was to combine making music with vocational training for youth interested in the music business," commented Wyclef Jean, founder of Yele Haiti. "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 Yele is all about."